Jamie Lee Curtis To Produce Biopic Honoring Gay Major League Baseball Player Glenn Burke

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Burke’s story might be worth dramatizing on film, but, with respect, Will, your first statement that he “came out of the closet long before Jason Collins or Michael Sam” is contradicted by “he shared his sexual preferences to his teammates and management but NOT the general public [as Collins and Sam did]” for it is the “public closet” that team owners, managers, coaches, other players, and the public most care about.

  2. Digging deeper, I discovered that, while nothing can change the fact that he effectively demonstrated that a gay man could be a great baseball player, it is a myth that Glenn Burke outed himself to management, or, apparently, anyone in sports, while he was playing. In the October 1982 “Inside Sports” article that officially outed him publicly, called, “The Double Life of a Gay Dodger,” Burke said, emphasis mine: “I didn’t want to make other people uncomfortable, so I faded away. My teammates’ wives might have been threatened by a gay man in the locker room. I could have been a superstar but I was too worried about protecting everybody else from knowing. If I thought I could be accepted, I’d be there now. It is the first thing in my life I ever backed down from. No, I’m not disappointed in myself, I’m disappointed in the system. Your sex should be private, AND I ALWAYS KEPT IT THAT WAY.” 1994 interviews with him the year before he died confirm this further, emphasis mine:
    “Though Burke NEVER talked about his sexual orientation to his family or teammates, word got around.” – 1994 People magazine interview. “He was adamant that the baseball community would never find out. … ‘I couldn’t let anybody know who I really was’, Burke said.” – 1994 New York Times interview. “Once Burke realized he was gay, he understood that it was taboo to talk about it in the clubhouse. ‘I just knew what I had to do. Play baseball, stay quiet and live my life’. ,,, Burke went to nightclubs with his teammates, dined with them, and never let on. A few players eventually found out Burke’s secret. Cleo Smith, a minor-leaguer with the Dodgers who grew up near Burke knew about his lifestyle and mentioned it to several others.” – 1994 Associated Press interview.

What do you think?