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This Month in SGN History — Dave Kopay: Just How Gay?

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Dive into the archives of the SGN at https://issuu.com/sgn.org

The front page of Volume 4, Issue 11  

DECEMBER 1, 1977

Having attended Dave Kopay's recent speech at the Masonic Temple in Seattle's First Hill District, I was left with the sensation of having heard very little of interest to me. A colleague and I approached Mr. Kopay after the talk and requested an interview for SGN, which he politely refused. Then I realized how miscast I was in trying to be a part of a Dave Kopay audience: he was speaking not with Gay individuals who consider themselves active in the Gay liberation movement, but rather with interested non Gays or those who are insecure with their own homosexuality. The purpose of the talk seemed to be for Kopay to show how well he could still blend in with all his past kicker buddies.

Kopay has undeniably been helpful to Gay liberation in some ways. He has ventured forth from a bastion of straight society (or so they thought), pro football. Though his own motives in publicly coming out are not clear, this move forced homophones to re-assess their stereotyping. Individuals who had no previous contact with Gay people were exposed to a person to whom they could not attribute the characteristics they ignorantly felt all Gay persons possessed. The true value of Kopay's revelation may lie in a lessened fear and/or hatred from those most removed from Gay life.

My key objections to Kopay's talk are related to his seeming indifference to some human rights issues, an indifference which underscores his separation from the central laminar flow of the Gay rights movement. Anyone supportive of the feminist and anti agist movements felt their ears cringe when Kopay teased about great looking gals or pathetic, rounding forty year olds.

Though his speech was oddly overconcerned with descriptions of his sex life and attitudes, his attempts to inject a "love" theme through poetry and letter reading were awkward, to say the least. Despite all, he was decently well received, probably because to most of the audience it was so "nouveau" just to be there.

How much a part of the Gay liberation movement is Dave Kopay, or should his public speaking and writing attempts he more succinctly classified as the "Date Kopay liberation movement?" Such a discussion brings up the question of how much one owes to oneself as opposed to the Gay movement as a whole. Certainly Gay people are a legitimate minority, and we peons expect to be able to cling when one of our kind manages to make the hit parade with the general populace. Gay people, however, are for the most part acutely aware of individual rights, and to saddle Kopay with unwanted reigns of leadership may be overstepping the boundaries.

Dive into the archives of the SGN at https://issuu.com/sgn.org