Jason Collins became the Lebron James of gay rights last month when he became the first active NBA player to announce he is gay.
His announcement turned the NBA universe upside down. Most current and former players supported him and praised his courage. Tim Hardaway told Collins by phone that “I’m proud of you and I support you.” Time changes people. Hardaway is infamously known for saying “I hate gay people,” six years ago when John Amaechi, a retired player, came out.
Society has changed. It has moved from tolerating to accepting, but there is still a lot of room left for improvement. Society needs to acknowledge there isn’t anything wrong or inferior about being gay.
There have been NBA coaches and ESPN analysts who have condemned Collins to hell for his lack of Christian behavior. ESPN analyst Chris Broussard said in a televised interview that homosexuals would not be recognized by the Bible as Christian.
“Homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ,” said Broussard.
The Bible has been used to defend slavery, segregation and oppressing women’s rights. Nobody uses the Bible card when eating shrimp.
The hypocritical nature of today’s public figures is disgusting. No one used religion when Tiger Woods was caught with several mistresses. Where was this Christian talk when former NBA player had 7 kids from 6 different mothers. Shawn Kemp was called a lot of things for his actions, but no mention of the Bible.
Collins might have been a journeyman in his basketball career. He has drifted from team to team playing for six teams during his 11-year career. He has never made an All-Star game or even played a full 82-game schedule. But his contributions to the gay community put him in an iconic status.
Collins has paved the way for other gay players to come out and live comfortably in their own skin. There’s no need to pretend, or hide or be ashamed of who they are. Coming out in school or at the workplace is one thing, but coming out in a business where masculinity is key, and everyone carries this machismo stigma, does wonders for not only the gay community, but for the world.
The world might have ignored or overlooked it, but Collins came out to his family and friends when he was traded to the Wizards. He chose the number 98 in honor of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who was murdered in Wyoming in 1998. He has also supported The Trevor Project, a nonprofit founded in 1998 dedicated to suicide prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and for youth questioning their own sexuality.
Not being able to be who you are causes serious damage to a young person. A study conducted by lifesitenews.com showed that teens who self-identify as homosexual are five times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to attempt suicide. The findings also revealed that 21.5 percent of the gay teens surveyed reported suicidal tendencies.
Being gay isn’t a disease and doesn’t make one inferior, it is just a sexual preference.
It isn’t anyone’s business who sleeps with who. Embrace them and treat them with dignity and respect, like you would any other human.
Society needs to make a goal where a player coming out is no longer news, where that type of announcement is considered normal, and nothing shocking. Collins’ announcement takes society one step closer to that.
Lets hope that it gives kids hiding in fear, and the adults living a confused life, the courage to come out.