It’s takes a lot to come out of the closet and admit openly one’s sexuality for anyone. But for an active NBA center to do just that must take an extra amount of huge courage and faith. Washington Wizards basketball star Jason Collins did just this the other day by admitting to the press that he was gay and in the process, became the first openly gay active athlete to ever do so.
I find that pretty amazing. I’m sure there are plenty of other professional athletes who are gay but are afraid to have others find out so they remain in the closet living double lives. I know all about that.
For all of my college years and about 6 months of post-collegiate years I did my best to conceal my attractions to men. I joined a fraternity because I thought that was the masculine thing to do. I was always dating at least one woman even if it was just for show. I rarely went past first base with any of them. I drank and got drunk quite often because it dulled down my sexual attractions. I stayed away from people who were already out of the closet and openly gay for fear of what others might think if I was around them. And at times, I even made fun of those people. It was a terrible way to be living but it kept me away for a period of time from what Jason Collins is now having to deal with like I am.
For as much as there is a lot more pro-gay support today, there still is quite a lot of backlash. Look at Mike Wallace from the Miami Dolphins who said he was repulsed by the idea a man was with another man when there were so many beautiful women around. And then there was ESPN announcer Chris Broussard who used Christianity and the Bible to bash Jason and declare what just about every evangelical church is doing today towards gays and lesbians….stating it’s immoral and a sin in God’s eyes.
For some like myself, I hid in the shadows for years. I didn’t want to have to deal with the negativity that might have come from others. I came out back in the summer of 1995 when things weren’t accepted as much as they are now. I lost a best friend because of his Christian views. I lost several other friends because of their religious upbringings. I had at times people calling me a “fag” or a “homo”. Even worse, I endured the fear constantly of being beat up. It’s a little different today for openly gay individuals but even still, too many religious people, especially in the United States, are still holding out that God says being gay is wrong. I’ve already come to the acceptance in my life that God brought me here as a gay man and that it’s my purpose to still show love to all these negative and racially biased people.
So for all the Mike Wallace’s and Chris Broussard’s, I send peace, forgiveness, and love and pray that God will enlighten you and help you accept God creates all people in different ways including being gay and that it’s not a sin . And for all the Jason Collin’s who are still hiding in the shadows, take a step in his direction and realize the more that all of us step out of fear, the more acceptance will come into this world for all of us.
God loves everyone and being gay isn’t a sin. The only thing to fear with coming out is fear itself and God can help anyone facing that to overcome it.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson