I too am happy and proud that Jason Collins has come out as a Black Gay man. I emphasize his ethnicity because I share it. There is such a social stigma that is attached to black men who are homosexual. Jason has broken through the sexual orientation barrier AND the color barrier, again. His openness will allow a lot of African Americans (specifically African American MEN) to rethink their position and understanding of who and what a homosexual man is. In his interview with Sports Illustrated, he states “I go against the gay stereotype”. He is an aggressive player on defense. This image shatters that misconception that all gay men are soft or effeminate. Not that a more gentle man should be denigrated, however, every gay man does not fit that profile. When we look at television or movies, most male gay characters are a ‘caricature’ of feigned femininity. I know it gets laughs, but as a Black man, I hate when acting roles only portray Black men as criminal, uneducated, inarticulate and the absentee father of multiple children. None of my Black gay or straight male friends fit either of these stereotypes. It will be nice to see a public reflection of the masculinity that I and other gay men that I know possess.
In my excitement and celebration over the news of Collins’ coming out, I shared with two of my co-workers. One is a lesbian. The other is the father to a gay son. Me: “Hey, Jason Collins of the Washington Wizards just came out!” Their responses lacked my enthusiasm. Female co-worker: “Oh, that’s nice.” Male Co-worker: “Yeah, that will be big news.” Both spoke rather flatly. Honestly, they kind of deflated my balloon. Then it occurred to me. Although the news is historic, it isn’t mind-boggling or earth shattering. Because there is nothing wrong or special about a person being same sex attracted, the news should be taken in stride. Gay man comes out. No big deal. Maybe as a society, we are growing in tolerance and acceptance.