home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 
 
 
Advertising Opportunities
Press Kit
Research Guide
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Copyright
 
site guide
search tips
research guide
editors & contributors
contact us
send feedback
write the editor
 
 
 
 
subscribe
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter to receive a spotlight on glbtq culture every month.
e-mail address:
 
 
 
  unsubscribe
 
 
Popular Topics in Literature
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo Buonarroti
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
 
Byron, George Gordon, Lord Byron, George Gordon, Lord
The bisexual Lord Byron treated many of his homosexual love affairs in his poetry, encoding them by the use of classical references or by purporting that they were affairs with women.
 
Modern Drama Modern Drama
Before Stonewall, censorship of the theater caused authors to encode homosexual content in publicly-presented plays.
 
Camp Camp
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
 
Selvadurai, Shyam
Sri Lankan-Canadian writer Shyam Selvadurai has emerged as a significant figure in post-colonial and gay writing by virtue of the style, wit, and perspicacity of his three novels.
 
Musical Theater
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
 
African-American Literature: Gay Male African-American Literature: Gay Male
The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
 
Philippine Literature
A vigorous gay and lesbian literature emerged in the Philippines in the last two decades of the twentieth century.
 
Topics In the News
 
Joe Paterno's Role in the Rene Portland Scandal at Penn State
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 11/11/11
Last updated on: 11/12/11
 
Bookmark and Share


Rene Portland. Photograph by Nathan A. Smith, courtesy trainingrules.com.

Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, recently fired for his role in covering up child-abuse by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, is also implicated in the scandal caused by former women's basketball coach Rene Portland's discrimination against lesbians.

According to Fawn Yacker, co-director with Dee Mosbacher of the award-winning documentary Training Rules (2009) about homophobia in Penn State's women's basketball program, Joe Paterno supported homophobic coach Rene Portland, whom he hired in the 1980s when he was the university's athletic director.

In a post at Outsports, Yacker states that Paterno "supported her even though she was open about her training rules--No drinking, No drugs, No lesbians. He supported her during student protests that were in response to the statements she made to the press in 1986 and 1991 stating her policies." He even referred to her as his "best hire."

Portland's homophobia was so notorious at Penn State that it finally became the center of a student-led campaign to force the university to adopt a non-discrimination policy, one that Paterno and then-President Joab Thomas opposed.

After several demonstrations against Portland and in favor of a non-discrimination policy, the faculty Senate finally acted and in effect forced a policy on the university in 1991.

At the time, Portland told an interviewer that she would reluctantly respect the new policy: "That is a policy I have to work under as an employee of the university. That's all I'll say about it."

However, as Training Rules documents, it is clear that Portland did not end her practice of discriminating against lesbians or those she perceived to be lesbian.

Training Rules tells the story of Jennifer Harris, whose suit against Penn State ultimately led to the resignation of Portland, an acclaimed and highly successful coach who made no secret of her homophobia.

In 2005, Harris, a premed sophomore, who had been one of the leading scorers on her team, was abruptly kicked off the squad by Portland. Harris suffered so many indignities as a result of this dismissal that she contemplated suicide.

But with the help of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Harris decided to fight back in order to prevent other student athletes from suffering similar indignities. In 2006, she launched a lawsuit against Portland, athletic director Tim Curley, and Penn State, alleging discrimination on the basis of perceived sexual orientation, racism, and gender stereotyping.

With the announcement of the suit, other women athletes came forward to tell their stories of having been victimized through the years by Portland and the athletic programs at Penn State.

An internal university review of Harris's complaint found that Portland created a "hostile, intimidating, and offensive environment." Portland was fined $10,000, required to attend diversity training sessions, and placed on "zero tolerance" for future violations of Penn State's non-discrimination policy.

Penn State settled the suit under confidential terms and Portland subsequently resigned. Upon her resignation, Paterno said, "I think she's done a great job."

As Mosbacher has written, "Training Rules is a painful reminder that homophobia still exists in women's sports. The Penn State players featured in the film represent many others throughout the world of college athletics whose careers have been terminated because of homophobia."

Training Rules (trailer for the documentary) from Woman Vision on Vimeo.

 
Related Encyclopedia Entries
 
browse:   arts   literature   social-sciences   discussion boards
 
learn more about glbtq       contact us       advertise on glbtq.com
 
Bookmark and Share

glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2014, glbtq, Inc.

Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.