Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Concerning Jason Collins

In case any of you missed the significance of why media outlets gave so much attention to Jason Collins going public with his sexuality yesterday, please allow me to try to explain it to you as best I can as a straight person. Whether you believe it or not, gay people are treated very poorly in the United States (and even worse in other parts of the world). Being gay is a criminal offense that carries a prison sentence in 68 countries and carries the death sentence in 5 countries.

Homosexual teenagers have the highest suicide rates of any social group. This is due, in part, to the fact that many of them and their family members have bought into the lie that they, as a person, are fundamentally flawed. Homosexuals are frequently castigated from their own families, parents, siblings, friends, and communities once people find out they are gay.

A friend of mine came out to me in 2003 which really changed my perception of what a gay person was. Until that time, I thought all gay people were flamboyantly outspoken and that had to mean they were fundamentally flawed. Until my friend came out, I never realized a gay person could be normal, like sports, just be one of the guys. Right now there are tens of thousands of gay people living in fear every day that their sports team, that their church, that their friends, that their co-workers might find out that they're gay.

Jason Collins took a very courageous step yesterday by going public for the first time in history as an active player in one of the four major sports in the United States. Collins put everything on the line yesterday and risked being outcast by his team, friends, and the entire city of Boston. He did it for the suffering teenagers who consider suicide because they were rejected by family or get bullied at school or who get told that God hates them, just because they were born a certain way.

Jason Collins serves as notice that flamboyant gay people are a loud, outspoken minority. Society needs to wise up to the fact that most gay people are normal people whom you would never suspect until they are ready to talk about it. These people are your doctors, lawyers, teachers, friends, colleagues, co-workers etc. Most of them spend their lives quietly biting their lips, reading about what you write, what say, and are filled with sadness knowing that they'll never be able to reveal their pain with you because they know you simply won't understand.

I myself used to be guilty of this behavior. I lacked empathy and love for my fellow man and had hateful, inconsiderate thoughts and actions that I'm embarrassed to admit having. All people are deserving of respect, love, and dignity. I assert that a more Christ-like behavior would be a deep concern for the suicide rates and treatment of homosexuals rather than concerning ourselves with whether we are going to allow them to marry or not.  A more Christ-like behavior would be standing up and saying that a death penalty for homosexuals is unconscionable, unacceptable, and I will not stand for it.

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