Monday, August 17, 2009

The Secret Life Of Gay Boxers

Here's an excerpt from an interesting article called Cinderella Men which chronicles the inside world of gay underground boxing.

Brian Thomas Gallagher writes:
Under a low ceiling of clouds on a Sunday afternoon in late spring, a group of gay men surreptitiously make their way down a dank alley in the upper reaches of Manhattan. They tuck into a side door leading to a windowless basement room. But when one of the men clicks on the light switch, flooding the room segment by segment with harsh klieg light, the encounter takes on a different cast. The room is gritty, festooned with duct tape-patched punching bags, and newspaper clippings of heavy-browed fighters. A sign on the wall reads If you're not here to box, go home. This is a boxing gym. Undercutting the sign’s message, however, is a smaller one underneath it that says Yoga classes available. 
You wouldn’t think of the boxing ring as shelter from the storm. But for gay boxers -- many of whom are out only here -- this musty basement in Manhattan is exactly that. Last summer Curdell “Doc” Hoskins, a gay 40-year-old amateur boxer, organized the Gay Boxing League, a rotating group of about 10 men who get together once a month behind the locked gate of this gym to do what they otherwise do at their regular gyms: fight. You don’t need to be too familiar with boxing history to understand the need to remain on the D.L. The sport is notoriously homophobic. Who can forget Mike Tyson yelling at a reporter in 2002, “I’ll fuck you till you love me, faggot!” a threat at once touching and scary? Or, more recently, how a batch of doctored photographs featuring Oscar De La Hoya in fishnets threatened to obliterate his legacy? So, unlike other boxers at the gym, the GBL’s members meet off-hours.
Read full article at