Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

For the past two years I have played pickle ball in a local club. It’s
primarily retirees who play at 9:00 am, and, as might be expected,
there’s a big variety of people in terms of social class, former
profession, political opinions, and actual skill with the game. The only
thing that seems to unite many of these people is a self-righteous
attitude against people they perceive as different, which, given their
own differences from one another, means they mostly make slurs
against gays. The recent tragic events in Orlando should be enough to
wake up even the most insensitive person that targeting of any group
is dangerous as well as anti-American. I’m a lesbian, but since that’s
had nothing to do with my relationship at the club, I haven’t outed
myself. Now I feel I have to say something. Do you have a good short
way of getting these people to keep their big mouths shut, at least
around me?


Dear Angry:

Outing oneself is never easy, but the costs of keeping silent are
sometimes worse. You have two choices, and I suggest using both of
them. Almost every club has a manager. Go to that person and say
you are disgusted by the homophobic and sexist comments you have
to hear while playing. Say those kinds of remarks would never be
tolerated against other groups, and should not be allowed in the club
context. Ask the manager to send an email to all members saying;
Profane comments about any group will not be permitted. If observed
they will be cause for dismissal, first as a warning for the day, and if
repeated, from the club. If the manager will not do that, or something
close, find another place to play.

Assuming you get some cooperation, be very clear when you talk to
members that you support the new policy, and that you have been
offended in the past. If you get pushback, ask why the person feels it’s
okay to besmirch gays and how they’d feel if their identity group was
discussed the same way. Recruit some allies to help spread the word.
Wear an I am Orlando rainbow pin for a while. The outing will happen
all on its own after that.