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Ramon Johnson

Gay Hockey Fans Respond to "Homo Larry" Chants

By March 21, 2008

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I like covering sports topics because I know plenty of gay men that are super sports fans (included myself). What I'm not so keen on are the sports that leave little room for openly gay fans (and players) in their arenas.

I have to admit, I'm more of a football/boxing type of guy, but there are rows and rows of dedicated hockey fans that happen to be gay. According to NYTimes.com, hockey players aren't the only ones taking backhand shots on the ice. The NYTimes.com report hones in on gay Rangers fans that feel alienated during what has become a traditional home game chant. Apparently, season ticket holder Larry Goodman is infamous for doing a "goofy" dance during Rangers home games—to which the crowd repeatedly chants: Ho-mo Lar-ry!

I can't say I've seen Larry live in action, but I have seen the frequented YouTube clips of Goodman. Interestingly, I can't quite figure out what makes Larry a "homo" as the crowd chants. He's actually a very bad dancer and most of the gay men I know can cut up the floor—so it can't be that. Maybe it's his bald head?.. No. His Rangers jersey? No, those are as straight as they come. Maybe his wild antics in the stands warrants such a nickname? Na... It's not usually the gay guys who revert back to adolescence when they drink a few too many. I just don't get the connection between Larry and gay.

No, I don't get it and Madison Square Garden, owner and home of the Rangers, doesn't seem to care. Now, this is hockey at MSG. I'm not going to pretend like Rangers games aren't one big chilly locker room or act like the sport isn't a tooth deficient romp. My gripe lies with the responsibility of the establishment to protect all of its season ticket holders. Fans even booed one game when the New York City Gay Hockey Association, a recreational league, flashed across the mega screen.

If Larry was being called anything else but homo—say [racist word] Larry or [sexist word] Larry or [other derogatory word] Larry—the Garden would be on the inappropriate fan behavior like pucks on ice.

In the Garden's defense though, The Times reports that The Garden, after receiving pressure from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the gay hockey league and New York City Council Woman Christine Quinn, broadcasts warnings that fans who "behave offensively" will be removed. They have also added additional security. MSG spokesman Barry Watkins states that some people have been ejected from the game for anti-gay remarks, assuring protesters that The Garden has taken "aggressive steps to deal with the offensive behavior."

So, what are gay Ranger fans to do while the Rangers are being so aggressive? Some have left the icy environment, like season ticket holders Kevin Jennings and Ray Stankes. I understand. Gay people's money is still green money. I wouldn't sit in the stands while thousands of hyped beer-clad fans chant "homo" either.

But what impact do anti-gay chants have on other fans? Chris Brand, a gay Islander fan told The Times, Its sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing. People are riled up. I dont think people have thought about it too much.

Yes, "thought about it" they have not! Which is chilling given there are now kids on YouTube making videos imitating Larry's "homo" dance—a perfect example of kids emulating adult behavior. The title the boys' home made clip is "Homo Larry," which comes as no surprise.

More News:
Read the Times story: Gay Hockey Fans Criticize Garden

Gay Sports Interviews:
Interview with Cyd Zeigler from Outsports.com
Interview with Former NBA Player John Amaechi

Image © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Comments
April 9, 2008 at 9:41 pm
(1) chris says:

you imply gay men are automatically good at dancing. way to throw a stereotype, albeit a positive one (but that doesn’t mean you get a pass), into your column.

nicely done

October 12, 2008 at 4:10 pm
(2) paul says:

Why do you assume that the Homo Larry chant is a negative one, all the rangers fans love him and praise him… so what if hes gay or not??? your the one introducting the negative aspect to the chant (why assume “homo” is being used in a negative derogatory way????)

January 1, 2009 at 11:46 pm
(3) Mr Biggles says:

Actually they are saying “go home Larry”.

January 23, 2009 at 1:53 pm
(4) RNGRfan says:

I feel this article makes a legitimate point.

Words aren’t just meant to be uttered. And last I checked “homo” is definitely not an appropriate word. Why doesn’t the garden just spew out “n*gger” while they’re at it? They’re already showing disrespect amongst the gay community by chanting this nasty word, why not use more words to go along with it?

Because it’s wrong you may add? Because it represents centuries of hate amongst a people who suffered but endured through slavery, animosity, segregation, and hatred?

Well, also consider the troubles the gay man/woman went through. Society never accepted them, they went though hatred, discrimination, and “homo” along with “fag” goes along with this struggle. I’s just not a good word to mutter.

Also; think of the kids that go to the games. You teach them not to say f*ck, sh*t, *sshole whenever they hear it not just in the garden but anywhere else; but “homo” is not a word that is taught not to utter. Thus, the child picks up on it, they say it to a teacher and claim it’s “ok” because daddy and/or mommy say it, and you’ve ended up in a whole mess of trouble. If you were to explain to that teacher that the word was all in “good fun”, and that it’s a term of endearment, would that teacher really take it that way.

Point being, it’s not a good word, and just justifies the weakness and heartless of some ranger fans.

FYI I’m not gay, but I support human rights of any kind.

February 17, 2009 at 6:53 pm
(5) Mrs Larry says:

As I recall, Larry is just a regular guy. He was caught by the Garden Vision one night dancing in the aisle on the way back to his seat. When he saw himself on the big screen he tried to put on a little dancing show. Nothing fancy. Then a lady from the nearby seat jumped into the aisle to dance with him. He kindly rejected her offer and she sat back down. Ever since, he has been known as ‘homo-larry’ You can read more about him on Wikipedia.

April 28, 2009 at 4:33 am
(6) Mongoosity says:

Honestly I’m torn about this. On one hand, bringing a topic like this up does invite people who might not think about the things they say, to actually give it some thought. I had a good friend who is gay, and one time I was talking about something, and the phrase — “That’s totally gay!” popped out of my mouth. We had a falling out over various things and aren’t friends anymore, and I continue to regret that statement, even though years have gone by.

On the other hand, I find all this PC stuff to be counterproductive. Making a big deal over words and phrases, only serves to give them power. I have been teaching my kids about “sticks and stones” and sadly, although that little gem has been around forever, it seems that the wisdom of its simple but effective message escapes us in modernity. Starting as children, bullying is an activity that involves attempts by the bully to provoke a reaction. The more reaction obtained, the more delighted the Bully becomes. When met with indifference, the Bully is mollified. If you really want to see this phrase fade away, making a mountain out of a molehill is the wrong approach.

April 29, 2009 at 8:31 am
(7) Earthling says:

This is the funniest thing I have ever read. The thought police have finally arrived! Be a gay as you want there my friend. None of us care. None of us think it makes you special. You don’t deserve a medal for it or any other treatment different from the rest of society. Go look up the word homosexual in the dictionary. It is the appropriate term for a man who chooses to have “relationships” with men rather than women (for whatever reason). If you are so offended about yourself being gay that is sad. No one should be offended about who they are!

November 17, 2009 at 8:33 pm
(8) Michael says:

of course do some research, dont write about something you don’t know because your not an die hockey fan, you wouldn’t know this but “Homo Larry” is the name given to larry because of an incident that occured when he pushed away a woman, and continued dancing, don’t be mad that people don’t think the same way as you

November 18, 2009 at 8:20 pm
(9) Robert says:

this is why i hate gay people we ackowledge them in society and they still get mad that we make fun of them, get over it fat people get made fun of you don’t see them complaining, people like you make me make gay remarks more thani should. TY HOMO LARRY!

July 3, 2010 at 3:30 pm
(10) Shawn Rentie says:

Okay, iam a homosexual, just thought I might add. Although you’re article was good, I actually have to agree with the straight guys who although don’t find it offensive. I don’t know much about hockey but apparently it isn’t an insult.

July 9, 2010 at 4:12 am
(11) yourstruely. says:

I don’t see what’s wrong with the word “homo” anyway. You mean to tell me your offended by a word that technically means homosexual? PEOPLE SHORTEN WORDS ALL THE TIME. I’m hetero and proud…so what? I can understand fag or fagot being offensive. But homo? Are you serious? There are worse things in life that goes on then to depress yourselves of a damn word. Make better use of your time. Be the bigger person and leave it alone. All your complaining is going to accomplish is people saying “oh here we go again, we offended the gay community”. Just stop your whining and deal with it! You technically are a “homo” if your gay… it’s just saying homosexual!!

Yours truely,
The hetero.

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