Monday, April 29, 2013

Jason Collins - A Profile In Courage



Jason Collins, an NBA professional athlete for twelve years, came out today as a gay man.  Why his action is so unique is that he is still an active player.  He did not wait until he retired to come out as a gay man. 

Let me venture to say that Jason's courageous act in publicly identifying himself as a gay man is the most significant development in the public awareness of gay men and women in our society since it was revealed that Rock Hudson was gay.

Even though this country has made amazing advances towards the public acceptance of gay men and women in the past ten years, there is still a hard core undercurrent of homophobia and intolerance in our society.  This was brought to my attention all to painfully last week when I was on vacation in North Carolina when I came face to face with danger and hatefulness of homophobia from a cousin of mine who threatened me if I "stepped foot" on his parent's property.  He said I would have to "deal with him" if I did.  All this took place in one of the hollers of the western North Carolina mountains where my father was born and raised until he was ten years old at which time his family moved to southeastern Pennsylvania.  My cousin said he had heard "a rumor that I practice the gay lifestyle" and wanted to know if that was true.  I answered him "If you're asking if I'm gay, I am."  That's when he delivered his hate filled, threatening diatribe to me.  Welcome family indeed.  Well, I guess up there in "Deliverence" country they can still indulge themselves in some good old fashion homophobia but the rest of the world is passing them by.  




Jason Collins, by coming out as a gay man while he is still playing professional basketball takes some.....well I have to say it....BALLS.  This is one courageous man.  I don't know if I could have done what he did.  Sure, most of his fellow ball players (no pun intended) know that it is now politically incorrect but I'm sure there are more than a few of them who will feel uncomfortable knowing at a gay man may look at their behind in the shower.  That's their usual excuse for their homophobia.  Oh give me a break!  How many times have I gone to the doctor (my urologist especially) this past year and been in those stirrups with my family jewels hanging out for the office help (always female) to ogle.  These big tough guys who play professional sports have to get over themselves and stop worrying about who is going to see their butt cheeks.  Just remember guys what Mr. White, my gym teacher said when I entered seventh grade and was facing my first public showers with other guys  and being embarrassed about being naked with those other guys.  Mr. White said "Don't worry about it, they all look alike."   Well, Mr. White, they didn't actually all look alike but no matter.  I didn't attack anyone because I was suddenly overcome with a sexual urge by googling a hunky classmate who had it all hanging out.  In fact, quite the opposite, I couldn't wait to get out of the shower.  Besides, ever smell a shower room full of a bunch of guys?  Not the most romantic setting for sure.



Kudos to Jason Collins.  I never heard of him before not do I suspect most other folks, but they will now.  Jason Collins, yet another hero on the road to freedom and acceptance of ALL our citizens.  






12 comments:

  1. It's certainly been burning up the Twitter feeds, and the spittle flecked far right idiots have acted like perfect fools putting him down. I just wonder they're going to "get it". We're here, we're queer, and we're NOT going away!!! Men like Mr. Collins certainly make it easier on the rest of us.

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,

      Jason Collins coming out is certainly getting those people upset who are using to having power over us. They see that power slipping away everyday and they can't stand it.

      Ron

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  2. Ron,

    In first grade? Pubic showers? Must have been in the second half of the year after i moved out of town.

    I think you were the one with real courage, coming out in 1963 when it really wasn't the thing to admit. Don't sell yourself short in the cajones department.

    Lar









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    1. Lar

      Ooops! Typing error. I should have said "7th grade." Yes, I'll pat myself on the back for coming out in 1963. It was scary times back then as it is still now in many places, especially last week when I was confronted by my cousin with his homophobia.

      Ron

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  3. this guy may encounter 2 ways of hate: he is black and gay. and that sux. may jason have the courage to rise above the h8ers!

    also, would someone place explain to me how you "practice the gay lifestyle"? is it like practicing the piano, or the violin? and have you mastered it yet or are you still practicing? (tongue firmly in cheek for this paragraph)

    your cousin is an ass and does not deserve your respect. he can also stay in his little world of hate and not mix with us civilized folk.

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    1. Well said Anne Marie. I was tempted to engage in a conversation with him but I thought "What is the use? " I could tell by his tone of voice he was itching for a confrontation. The first thing I thought when he made his remark about "practicing the gay lifestyle" was "do you mean going to work, paying my bills, paying my taxes, serving my country in the Army, eating, sleeping.....that that what you mean by my "gay lifestyle?" But you're right. This person (who unfortunately happens to be my cousin) is an ignorant and hateful person who does not deserve to know me or Bill. I do get some comfort in knowing that each day this person will fall farther and father behind the rest of our society by his blind hate and ignorance.

      Ron

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  4. No matter what, some people will never accept lifestyle, races... that are different from theirs. Yes, the world is passing them by! Their loss!

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    1. Nadege,

      You are right Nadege, the world is passing people like my hateful and homophobic cousin by. And I think he knows it but he is so blinded by his ignorance and fear that he doesn't know how to handle modernity. It is their loss.

      Ron

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  5. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Ron, I am praying for you that everything goes well on Thursday and that you have a sense of calm and peace during this ordeal. As far as the basketball player, my first reaction was why is this news at all? I would expect that there are gay people in sports, just like in any other occupation. I am glad you got to enjoy your trip. Lynne

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    1. Lynne,

      Thank you for your concern about my procedure this Thursday. I am concerned about it.

      Your comment about Jason Collins coming out as a gay man and "why is this news?" Is interesting. One of my cousins on Facebook made a similar comment. In fact she said she was "pissed off" that Jason Collins coming it was "breaking news." Let me explain To you and my cousin why this is news. Jason Collins is the first ACTIVE player in the sports world to come out. I guess I should expect straight people not to understand what a courageous act this is on the part of Jason Collins, because straight people don't know what it is like to live a lifetime of hiding your real identity for fear of rejection, harassment, discrimination and even physical violence. This is something we gay people have to live with all our lives. Of course there are a lot of gay people in sports but until Jason Collins took his brave move, not one active player has come out. Each time a major figure comes out publicly as a gay man or woman, another brick in the walls of discrimination are removed. I look forward to the day when a gay man or woman comes out and it is NOT news.

      Ron

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    2. Anonymous6:34 PM

      Ron, Actually I think you and I are on the same page on Jason Collins. I was not upset that it was breaking news, it just seems ridiculous that people don't know that of course there are gay athletes. I do understand how it took courage for him to make this public, however, especially in light of how you were just treated on your trip. Lynne

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    3. Lynn,

      I thought we were on the same page! I for one will be glad when professional athletes or anyone in the public eye who comes out isn't news. When that happens we know we've reached full equality. You are absolutely right, there are many professional athletes who are gay, they just haven't come out. Maybe Jason Collins, by coming out, will prompt more to come out, so many that after awhile that gay athletes aren't even news.

      Ron

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