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.