SCORE: Jason Collins. Standing ovation. Let’s do the wave (oh, sorry, that’s baseball). You’re my new favorite basketball player. It’s impressive that this NBA player just publicly announced that he’s gay, but even more impressive is this seven footer’s courage. In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last few days, Jason is the first openly gay athlete playing on a major American sports team. This is the kind of move that creates change.
I’m not gay, but I support the gay community because as I’ve said many times before, gay people are just like straight people. We all share the same sort of big dreams and hopes, fears and insecurities. When you get right down to it, we’re all just people. JUST. PEOPLE. Trying to have a good life, find love, give back, do our best. I don’t want to kiss a girl, but I don’t care if you do. I’m all for it. And I’m all for equal rights, HUMAN RIGHTS. ‘
An announcement like this helps the lesbian gay, bisexual, and transgender community of teenagers in a big way. And this is a population that needs support. We all know how complicated adolescence is, what with the hormones, acne, emerging personalities, romantic relations, friends, school, social media and mandatory rebellion, but add a questioning of sexuality, or knowledge that you’re different sexually than all your friends, and you’ve got yourself the kind of isolating experience that causes deep pain and shame. Now these kids have one more person who’s let them know that it’s ok to be exactly who they are. Hey, I think I’m a little in love with Jason!
How has this announcement been received in the macho world that is professional basketball? All sort of NBA players have been extremely supportive to Jason. And even President Obama called him to say he had his back.
In the Sports Illustrated article, in which Jason makes his announcement, he says,
“I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, “Me, too.”
And looky here, our city’s marathon tragedy actually helped him make his decision to come out, as he talks about in this excerpt:
“The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? When I told Joe a few weeks ago that I was gay, he was grateful that I trusted him. He asked me to join him in 2013. We’ll be marching on June 8.”
So, Jason Collins–you have my 100th day of gratitude. I imagine you feel about a bajillion pounds lighter. You’re a good ball player, but you’re a great man.