Today Jason Collins, who played for the Washington Wizards this past season, came out as an openly gay American in a Sports Illustrated interview. For most, this wouldn’t be headline news because we have millions of openly gay Americans all across our country.
But this one is just a little different.
You see, Jason Collins becomes the first active male athlete from the 4 major American pro sports leagues to come out.
Personally, I can’t wait for the day when “(Fill in famous name) comes out as gay” is no longer a headline. But until that day, individuals like Jason Collins are heroes to the LGBT community.
And I promise you, this is just the start. In our country we’ve had discussions for a while now about the ramifications of openly gay athletes in our 4 major professional sports, but we had yet to have an active player come out as gay.
Now we do. The question now is, who’s next? Because I promise you, he isn’t the only one.
I’m sure the ignorant will come after this guy, ignorance is nothing if not persistent. But I call on everyone who supports equality to fight harder than ever against that ignorance.
I applaud Jason Collins for coming out today. Being the first of almost anything is always difficult. I’m sure he will face a lot of hate and bigotry coming his way from not only strangers, but from some he thought were his friends.
But today is a groundbreaking day for the LGBT community, because more athletes will soon follow. It’s the first step towards acceptance in an area of our society where being gay has always been taboo.
While I’m sure there will be some backlash, and some “growing pains” along the way, it won’t be that long before being gay in our major professional sports isn’t a big deal.
I can still remember when Ellen came out on her sitcom back in the 90’s— it was a huge deal. Made bigger headlines than this Jason Collins story. Now, there’s a gay actor/actress on nearly every sitcom I see on television. Either a character that’s gay on the show, or an actor/actress who’s gay in real life who stars on the show. And sometimes you get the ridiculously awesome characters like that of Barney Stinson, played by openly gay actor Neal Patrick Harris, on the show How I Met Your Mother. Harris plays a heterosexual over-the-top womanizing character on the show—and nobody seems to care that he’s gay in real life. He’s been the most popular character on a show that’s been very popular for years.
So I congratulate Jason Collins and the LGBT community. While everything won’t be easy going forward, his courage to finally come out is the first step for other athletes in our 4 major American pro sports to finally be who they are.
But again, I still can’t wait for the day when this isn’t a headline, because at that point people will be accepted for who they are, and not ignorantly judged for who they love.
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