Friday, 10 May 2013

Thoughts on Jason Collins' Media Coming-Out

Many of you have sent me messages and emails regarding Jason Collins’ recent media coming out, making him the first male “big four" team athlete to come out in the media while still active in his sport.  I must say that I admire the man a great deal.

Bob Paris Official
Occasions like this make me look back at 1989, when I was the first male professional athlete (in any sport) to come out in the media while still competing in my sport—and it feels like it happened on a different planet.  I suppose in many ways it did.  It was, to say the least, an incredibly challenging time in my life.  But there was no other viable path for me.  I simply wasn't built for the closet.

As I have written many times before, I owe the relative safety of my own journey to the many LGBTQ pioneers who came before me, cutting a trail through a confusing and often dangerous wilderness. 

With this in mind, it’s heartening to watch the public reaction to Jason’s coming out, much of which has been so positive.  This says great things about our culture’s evolution. 

Yes, there are still many miles to go before we might rest.  It will take persistent vigilance to maintain our gains, but demographics indicate that this category of bigotry will fade away into an embarrassing memory.  Homophobes are on the wrong side of history and human evolution.  Period.  And, future generations will shake their heads at how clueless and violently mean-spirited many of their ancestors could be.

I wish you all peace, harmony and continued evolution,

Bob