Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shut Up and Be Happy That He is Happy: The Courage of Jason Collins

The NBA's Jason Collins is a very courageous man.  I respect and support what he has done (not that he has asked me).  I apologize for us making it so difficult and for it to have taken so long. I can't imagine the struggle of having to keep such a "secret" to oneself for so long.  

However, the news isn't that he is gay.  The news is that some of us still think that we were better off when he was in the closet.  Some of us think Jason Collins was better off staying in the closet. There are people who somehow think that we were better off not knowing.  Perhaps, some of us feel better protected and safer when he was in the closet.

All we know is that he decided to inform us that he is primarily attracted to men.  Period.  Not because we needed to know, but because he needed relief from being someone who he knew he wasn't.  He almost married a woman, at least partly because he thought we needed him to.

Some of us condemn him for his choices.  Evidence strongly suggests that he is no more in control of his sexual preferences that the rest of us. How he deals with those preferences, now that is another matter.

We don't know who he has slept with.  It's none of my business.  It's none of our business what consenting adult he sleeps with in the future.  His twin brother, Jarron, doesn't know who he slept with or didn't sleep with.  Nevertheless, there are people who think that Jason is a sinner (because of what he has chosen to reveal about himself, not because of what he has done or not done with his preferences).

Coming out is not a crime or a sin.  The real sin is shunning or condemning a man without knowing the man or his actions.  There are people who feel that Jason Collins has violated their religious beliefs and their moral code.  Despite living in a country founded on and based on religious freedom, some of us continue to deny others that right.

I respect you, Jason Collins, for lifting the burden off of your shoulders in spite of the possible dangers and consequences that we insist on creating for you.  Let's hope that it helps others to unburden themselves of their secrets (whether they inform us publicly or not).

Also, thank you for putting up a mirror to our own sense of values and ethics.  Are we ready to accept and support a gay athlete?  I trust most of us are.  Most importantly, I hope we can live up to your courage.



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