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Bean, Billy (b. 1964)  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  

With the new restaurant, Mayya, about to open, Bean was scheduled to do an interview with Miami Herald writer Lydia Martin, who asked if she could state that he and Veiga were partners in their personal as well as professional lives. Chagrined that remaining closeted had cost him contact with dear friends like Layana, he agreed.

The national media picked up the story. Bean's coming out was front-page news in the New York Times. The only major-leaguer before him to reveal his homosexuality had been Glenn Burke. None has done so since.

Sponsor Message.

Bean and Veiga were interviewed by Diane Sawyer on the ABC television news magazine program 20/20. The segment won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Television Journalism.

Bean was pleased by the amount of positive reaction that he received and was happy to reestablish ties with old friends, including Ausmus and Hoffman.

There were cautious notes even amid the favorable comments, however. Bean's former manager Jim Riggleman stated that "everyone loved Billy on the club" and that "he was such a good guy that I think it would have been all right on the club. The news crews, that might have made it tough," if Bean had come out while he was still playing.

College teammate Jim Bruske expressed his personal support but opined that Bean "was right to keep it a secret. The guys would have been brutal." While such a reaction would clearly not have been universal, some players, such as Chad Curtis and Andy Pettitte, did state publicly that they would not be comfortable having a gay teammate.

Bean began speaking out for glbtq rights. He appeared at the Millennium March in 2000 and has given speeches at events of the Human Rights Campaign, which he strongly supports. He was also a featured spokesman for the Democratic National Committee in 2000.

Bean published his memoir, Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life in and out of Baseball, in 2003. He wrote candidly and movingly of the joy and the anguish that he had experienced as both a gay man and a baseball player. He also optimistically declared that "baseball is ready" for an out active player but at the same time noted that "there still isn't a single openly gay scout, front office exec, coach, or even umpire."

Bean hoped to get back into baseball in a front office job and undertook talks with Dave Dombrowski, the general manager of the Marlins, about possible places for him within the Florida organization. Before anything was settled, however, Dombrowski quit to become president of the Detroit Tigers. Not wanting to leave Miami, Bean did not pursue employment opportunities in Detroit.

Bean and Veiga's Mexican restaurant, Mayya, had failed to find a clientele and closed after about a year. The couple then opened a successful business redeveloping residential properties.

In the spring of 2006 Bean joined the all gay and lesbian panel of the Game Show Network's revival of I've Got a Secret. Bean welcomed the opportunity to do the unscripted show. "How many gay people have the chance to be completely themselves on TV?" he asked. "We've been guarded and monitored forever. I enjoyed just being myself."

As an openly gay man, Bean feels a responsibility to be a role model, especially for younger people who may feel anxious about coming out. "It has been a long, hard journey to me, and I want people to learn from my mistakes, not share them," he stated.

In a 2003 interview Bean was asked to complete the sentence "Being gay is . . ." and replied that it is "just one of the many ways all people in this world are slightly different from one another. Diversity is one of the most beautiful and important things in life. It is so important for all of us in our community to be shining examples of pride and self-respect."

Linda Rapp

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   Related Entries
  
social sciences >> Overview:  Parades and Marches

Both parades and marches have served to render the glbtq community visible; whereas marches typically attempt to effect political change, parades and pride events affirm identity and community.

arts >> Overview:  Sports: Gay Male

While sports, at least on the major competitive level, may be the final closet for gay men, there have nevertheless been a number of gay male elite athletes.

arts >> Amaechi, John

Closeted throughout his professional basketball career, John Amaechi is the first player from the National Basketball Association to acknowledge that he is gay; since coming out, he has become an eloquent spokesman for glbtq rights.

arts >> Burke, Glenn

The first major league baseball player to acknowledge his homosexuality publicly, Glenn Burke believed that homophobia impeded his chances for a more successful career.

social sciences >> Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a watchdog group dedicated to promoting accurate representations of the glbtq community in the media.

social sciences >> Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

The largest glbtq political organization in the United States, the Human Rights Campaign has emerged as the leading national organization representing glbtq concerns.

arts >> Kopay, David

The first American professional athlete to acknowledge his homosexuality publicly, former National Football League player David Kopay stands near the head of the short list of openly gay and lesbian elite athletes.

arts >> Nyad, Diana

Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.

arts >> Pallone, Dave

Major league umpire Dave Pallone was outed and forced out of professional baseball; since leaving the game he has become an advocate for glbtq rights.

arts >> Thomas, Gareth

Acclaimed Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas is among the small number of professional athletes who have found the courage to come out as gay at the height of their careers.

arts >> Westenhoefer, Suzanne

Out, proud, pretty, and funny, stand-up comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer is also an outspoken supporter of glbtq and feminist causes.


    Bibliography
   

Bean, Billy. www.billybean.com.

_____, with Chris Bull. Going the Other Way: Lessons Learned from a Life in and out of Baseball. New York: Marlowe & Company, 2003.

Bull, Chris. "Safe at Home." The Advocate 801 (December 21, 1999): 34.

Buzinski, Jim. "Billy Bean's Secret: Ex-Ballplayer Tries His Hand on New Game Show." OutSports (April 13, 2006). outsports.com/entertainment/20060413beansecret.htm.

ChicagoPride.com. "Interview: Billy Bean." (2003). www.chicagopride.com/news/interview.cfm/articleid/90016.

Lipsyte, Robert. "A Major League Player's Life of Isolation and Secret Fear." New York Times (September 6, 1999): A1.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Bean, Billy  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated August 11, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/bean_b.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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