The thing is, it isn’t funny.

You Can Play – support this.

I shouldn’t have to say “don’t be homophobic.”

I shouldn’t have to say “don’t use slurs.”

People I know who should know better do, though. People who have been otherwise supportive and nice and who I know actually aren’t homophobic.

But look, if you use the words, they do damage. To me, as your friend, and to everyone else.

I said repeatedly in the locker room “seriously quit with the homophobic slurs” and I got so much pushback and protest, about how it wasn’t about me, about how I should be thicker skinned, about how “I have a gay (relative of choice) so how could I possibly be homophobic??”

So much defensiveness, so much anger, when it wasn’t me using the slur in the first place. Look, if you say something and I say “don’t use that word, it hurts my feelings,” what you say isn’t “ZOMG I AM NOT HOMOPHOBIC YOU ARE OVERREACTING,” say “oh, hey, yeah. That was shitty, sorry.” Apologize. Don’t do it again. Easy.

But that’s not what happened.

And maybe I got strident.

Maybe I got angry.

Maybe I knew when the team disbanded and I wasn’t offered a spot on another team that that had something to do with it. Because things were fine until then.

Maybe people don’t get how isolating it is to be one of a handful of women, and the only out gay person in the league. Maybe it’s hard to understand what it’s like to be in the minority like that, and the huge impact hearing a slur makes when it’s just you and you’re not sure you belong there. Maybe people don’t know what it feels like to be that different all the time, when you feel like you have more to prove, because of being different. And so you don’t get what a huge, huge impact a slur makes.

It says “no, you don’t belong.”

So no matter how much the rest of your actions may say otherwise, that one word, your defensiveness when I call you on it is huge.

And you think, you think it’s just us in the locker room but your sons, your daughters hear you. Other guys who look up to you and want to be like you and who want to emulate you and get your attention hear you, and then they all do it. Because if you do it, then it must be cool. And you already fucking know it’s not cool. My son then listens to those slurs at school and the message he gets is “never ever talk about my family.”

You see? So it’s you and me in the locker room and every time you say “faggot” or “no homo” it causes these ripples. That affect all of us in spreading waves of damage to individuals, to families, to the sport.

Don’t do it. Please.

An open letter to the women at the rink last night.

Fuck you all for cowards.

No, really.

We demand equal treatment, we cry foul when our strength is called into question. We want the same things the men have. The same rights, the same respect, the same privileges.

You know what?

You can’t have something for nothing. You can’t show up at the rink, skate in a little knot at the far end, you can’t fail to integrate and expect to be somehow, magically integrated. You can’t fail to talk to anyone and then expect this to be your community. You can’t bunch together in a silent, exclusive knot and expect that you’ll be included and welcomed.

But most of all?  Most of all, you ladies at the rink?

You don’t fucking leave when scrimmage starts.

You don’t leave. Do you hear me? You don’t leave when it gets rough, you don’t leave when the physical contest starts, you don’t leave when you might be embarrassed or humiliated or hurt. You don’t leave when the yelling starts. You don’t leave when they watch, and judge, and measure. You don’t leave when it counts… you stay and be fucking counted.

I was the only woman left, and we started with six. Six of us, and I was fucking over the moon to walk into a skills and drills and have so many women there, skating. Representing.

Then drills ended and we got sorted out for scrimmage, and it was just me and the goalie and I looked around at all the men and thought what just happened here?

Why was it just me and the goalie and no other women left?

I was furious. I don’t care how novice you are. Guys out there could barely stand up. They waved their sticks and fell down and one guy shot on his own net. One guy got his bells rung and went off the ice listing and weaving. I took a wrister to the ankle and I’ve got a glorious puck hickey there today and do you think I care? Do you think any of us cared? Not a bit.

So how dare you.

How dare you show up only to bail when it’s most important to stay. You want to play hockey?  You want to fucking play hockey? Then play.

This is the proving ground.

No one’s going to hand you women anything. If that’s what you expect then fuck you, you put on your skates and came to the wrong place. 

Lace it up. Suck it up.

Prove yourself.

Play.