So let me get this straight…(no pun intended)
Here in the States one Jason Collins became the first openly gay player on a team sport to go public with his sexual orientation while still playing. He plays professional basketball
for the Washington Wizards
and has been in the NBA
. During that time none of his teammates, coaches, friends or family seemed to be aware of Mr. Collins sexual preferences and for a time he was even engaged to get married (to a woman) but broke off the engagement a month before the wedding was scheduled to take place.
It’s anticipated that Mr. Collins announcement will open the floodgates for athletes in other team sports to follow suit and live their lives openly.
It seems the entire sporting world and general public (myself included) support Mr. Collins. Here’s what a few of them have had to say.
President Barack Obama:
"I had a chance to talk to him yesterday; he seems like a terrific young man. I told him I couldn’t be prouder. You know, one of the extraordinary measures of progress that we’ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality — not just partial equality, not just tolerance — but a recognition that they’re fully a part of the American family. Given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who has excelled at the highest levels in one of the major sports, go ahead and say, “This is who I am. I’m proud of it. I’m still a great competitor. I’m still seven foot tall and can bang with Shaq and deliver a hard foul.”
"I think a lot of young people out there who are gay or lesbian, who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who is unafraid — I think it’s a great thing and I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly. Everybody’s part of a family and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance and not their sexual orientation. So I’m very proud of him.”
First Lady Michelle Obama:
“So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country. We’ve got your back! –mo”
Former President Bill Clinton:
"I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea's classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned."
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers:
“Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU”
Current NBA Commissioner David Stern:
“As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family," Stern said in a statement. "Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”
Former tennis great Martina Navratilova:
”Well done Jason Collins- you are a brave man. And a big man at that:) 1981 was the year for me- 2013 is the year for you:)”
” It’s not easy to come out when one is still active- shouldn’t be an issue, but it is. That’s why so many don’t do it till after.”
”Hey Jason Collins-you are now an activist!!! And trust me, you will sleep a lot better now- freedom is a sweet feeling indeed!”
Statement from the Washington Wizards:
“We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly. He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career. Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation.”
There’s a host of other personalities that live in the limelight that have also chimed in with their public support of Mr. Collins that’s too long to list here but I think you get the idea.
Meanwhile, back on the home front.
As I alluded to on April 22, 2013, a teacher at my daughters school who was held in high standing by students and parents alike was fired after nineteen years of loyal service after it was revealed that she was in a same sex relationship with another woman. Her revelation did not come in the form of a press conference nor was her face splashed all over the front pages of newspapers or magazines across the country and the world. No, she was “outed” when her partners name appeared in her recently deceased mother’s obituary and a single anonymous parent complained about her lifestyle to school and church authorities.
The teacher appealed her dismissal and from what I can gather it was upheld. The reason given for this was that she wasn’t fired because she was a lesbian, she was fired because it became “public knowledge.” She’s now hired an attorney to take up her cause and it looks like it will be up to a court to decide. I wish her all the best.
So, on one hand, the world applauds Mr. Collins for his courage and bravery for going public and on the other it sits idly by in judgment on a teacher who dedicated her career to educating her students and through no fault of her own finds herself out of a job.
It just goes to show you, we still have a long way to go.
If you find yourself so inclined and haven’t yet done so, there’s still time to show your support for the fired teacher. Details of that can be found in my daylog of April 22, 2013. As of the latest tally, there have been over 125,000 signatures on the petition calling for her reinstatement.
Thank you for your support.
The sports stuff and quotes came from:
The other stuff came from accounts in the local news here in Columbus, Ohio as well as discussions with Anna.