What’s all the fuss about?
That’s what The New York Times’ Frank Bruni wants to know and he’s got a pretty good handle on the situation:
“Many of us want to, and will: when a gay, lesbian or transgendered kid isn’t at special risk of being brutalized or committing suicide. When the federal government outlaws discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, which it still hasn’t done.
“When immigration laws give same-sex couples the same consideration that they do heterosexual ones. When the Defense of Marriage Act crumbles and our committed relationships aren’t relegated to a lesser status, a diminished dignity.
“When a Rutgers coach doesn’t determine that the aptly ugly garnish for hurling basketballs at his players’ heads is the slur ‘faggot. When professional football scouts don’t try to ascertain that potential recruits are straight.
“When an athlete like Collins can be honest about himself without he and his co-author having to stress that he’s a guy’s guy, a godly man, someone who stayed mum about himself before now precisely so he wouldn’t disrupt his teams or upset his teammates, someone who’s inhabited locker rooms for 12 seasons already without incident.
“When a gay person’s central-casting earnestness and eloquence aren’t noted with excitement and relief, because his or her sexual orientation needn’t be accompanied by a litany of virtues and accomplishments in order for bigotry to be toppled and a negative reaction to be overcome.”
At the time that Ellen DeGeneres ‘came out’ in her sitcom in 1997, I was living on Christopher Street in New York’s West Village, one of America’s gay cultural epicenters. That night, the night the show aired, my girlfriend and I must’ve seen 200 lesbian couples holding hands walking around Greenwich Village—this was NOT a common sight at the time, even in that neighborhood—and it was a very, very moving thing to see, and something that brought tears to both of our eyes.
What Ellen did sixteen years ago, and what veteran NBA player Jason Collins did yesterday are big, bold important gestures. In fact, it demeans their courage by calling what they did, merely gestures, because it represents way more than that: they put their careers and their lives on the line for what’s right.
That’s takes a special kind of heroism.
Straight allies like The Times’ Frank Bruni are important, too and I commend and applaud him for this powerful op ed. Read the entire thing here and please share it with friends.
Posted by Richard Metzger |