Love And Basketball
NBA player Jason Collins has decided to come out of the closet and announce that he is gay, something he describes as mind-boggling and something he hopes will encourage other closeted homosexuals to follow his lead and be open and honest with the world. He is the first active professional athlete to do this, making his actions into a milestone for the LGBT community. He says he did not set out to be a trailblazer but he is happy to have started a new conversation about homosexuality in our country. He has received a lot of support from fellow athletes and definitely has people talking.
It’s bizarre that in 2013, homosexuality still is not accepted in this country. We are split right down the middle when it comes to gay marriage, we still have people insisting that being gay is a choice and not something one is born as, and we still see people become extremely uncomfortable and sometimes filled with rage at the sight of two men holding hands or two women having a romantic dinner. We see people become angry when a woman dates another woman who has a more masculine appearance, asking why she doesn’t just date a guy if she’s going to date a woman we think looks like a guy herself. We chastise men for being “sissies,” mocking behavior we think is flamboyant. For some reason, society cannot come together and simply accept that being gay doesn’t mean a person is flawed.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a thing of the past for our military, something my favorite soldier at work is quite happy about, but it doesn’t mean that his struggle is over. He still gets ribbed by colleagues who think if he just found the right woman, he would be “fixed.” He’s even had a heart to heart with me where he considered trying to date women so his life would be easier. Male soldiers are supposed to be macho and tough, something that most people don’t generally associate with being gay. It’s the same for professional male athletes; they are tough alpha males who score the hottest models and who can have their way with whatever woman they wish. These tough guys shouldn’t be gay because homosexuality doesn’t fit our view of what an athlete should be.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that it’s not a big deal that Collins came out and that he should just shut up about it instead of being out there and trying to be some sort of hero. I don’t see what he has done as an act of heroism though, I see it as no different from any public figure opening up about love or any other part of their personal life. People like the Kardashians live their life like an open wound and it’s accepted, but a homosexual decides to be honest and that isn’t okay? Collins isn’t dressing in rainbow-covered attire and dancing in the streets with men in speedos, he is simply making a personal statement and doing so in the hopes that his admission will move our society in a positive direction. There is nothing to be upset about here.
Collins is right on the money by calling this mind-boggling. As I write this, two of my coworkers are having a discussion about how this will negatively affect the team, the mood in the locker room, and the sport as a whole. It’s mind-boggling that people still think that being a gay man means being sexually attracted to every single man they come across. It’s mind-boggling that teammates could feel uncomfortable in a locker room with a gay man who has previously never done anything and probably will not do anything in the future to cause discomfort. Sexual orientation is one piece among many that makes a person who they are. It shouldn’t be the one defining piece and shouldn’t cause this much distress and outrage.
I’ve been in a locker room with lesbians. I’ve been in many restrooms in gay bars and clubs with lesbians. I’ve been harassed and/or made to feel uncomfortable zero times. The one time I’ve been harassed by a lesbian was while working at a shoe store. There is no reason for alarm and no reason to think that a gay man can’t play a sport because his teammates won’t be able to handle the homosexual vibe in the locker room. It’s not the gay person causing discomfort, it’s everyone else who won’t put aside their fears and who choose to focus on the fact that this man prefers the company of other men instead of women. Yes, there are gay people out there who don’t know how to behave, but that can be said for straight folk as well. The bad behavior of a few does not define everyone.
We need to treat the admission by Collins properly, which is to treat is as no big deal. He took a step out of the shadows in order to grow as a person and to be happy. He started a conversation that should be ended with acceptance and love. His actions will hopefully show others that being gay isn’t something to be ashamed of and isn’t something people should be fearful of. We need to rid ourselves of the stereotypical image of what a gay man or woman should be and accept the fact that gay people come in as wide a variety as straight people do. We are way overdue to drop this terrible attitude towards the LGBT community. None of us have the right to stand in the way of anyone’s happiness. If someone’s happiness comes from loving the same gender, who are we to oppose?
Posted on April 30, 2013, in Love, News, Sports and tagged basketball, don't ask don't tell, gay marriage, gay rights, hate, homosexual, jason collins, lesbian, lgbt, nba. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.