How does Jason Collins’ coming out change the discussion about gay equality?

I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.

I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. — Jason Collins

Jason Collins plays center for the Washington Wizards and came out in Sports Illustrated, “I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different,'” he said. “If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

Today’s Question: How does Jason Collins’ coming out change the discussion about gay equality?

  • John

    It doesn’t, I don’t need to know if a person is gay or not. I really don’t care. Its not important. Why is this news.

  • reggie

    Each barrier shattered is just one more step on the march toward equality. It doesn’t change the discussion, as much as it demonstrates progress toward not needing to have it. We’re not there yet, but we’re moving in the right direction.

  • Duane

    I would like to quote a NBA player, “its just not that big a deal!” My feeling is to take a Christian view, that is to, “love the sinner but hate the sin!”. I think there are more important issues to bring up on this site.

    • Michael

      I know, some Christians, geez…

  • Paul

    Yet another Breaking of the Taboo. How powerful and lasting was the Berlin Wall? Time to Live.

    • Deborah

      I assume they’re waiting for the signal to come out en mass in this lusty month of May in support of gay marriage and legalization of cannabis.

  • david

    Is this news or gossip? I can’t tell..

    • Jerry

      A little of both, there’$ a need to undo the yellow journalism of Hearst and friends.

  • This is about as significant as finding out there is a strait male competitor on Project Runway. Unusual, yes, front page news…no.

  • Ann M

    Maybe some of us should “come out” and say “I’m short, ugly, and old and I’m proud of it!” I was bullied and hated because I was the worst athlete in gym class. Of course people shouldn’t be hated, but I don’t have to accept people’s behavior. Some people think they were born to have sex with many people.(one person wrote that in one of these MPR discussions.)Just be nice to one another. You can even debate. But you don’t have to hate or be insensitive.We shouldn’t have to “come out” and demand that people accept everything we do or believe.

    • Jennifer

      Over the years I’ve discovered that monogamy and hetero-sexuality is simply not the way the world works however much it seems to be imposed by government or religion. People are people.

      • Ann M

        Yes, I don’t impose my beliefs on you. That is why the gov’t should take the word “marriage” out of all gov’t documents. My church will continue to call only one thing “marriage.”

  • Jim G

    I have gay cousins, church friends, teacher colleagues, and now a NBA player announces he’s gay. It reinforces this truth: Gays have been part of the human family since the beginning. Some past cultures have been inclusive, some have not. It’s gratifying to see the sports culture moving toward acceptance of gays and away from gay epitaphs meant to humiliate. This is a courageous decision Jason Collins has made to come out. He’s showing the courage to fully embrace the person he is. I wish him well on his life journey.

  • Paul O

    As someone who grew up in a locker room, played college baseball, and even coached for a few years, I can testify that male locker rooms can be barbaric places. The societal expectation for a man / masculine person among male athletes has been broken for some time. You will find all sorts of idiocy, competitive oppression, hateful language, and in some cases, outright sexual assault in that environment (often described as locker room shenanigans). I’ve experienced this in an educated, liberal arts environment with allegedly intelligent inhabitants. The Daily Circuit’s conversation last week got to a bit of the core of that. So many male athletes having antiquated, damaging ideas of what makes someone ‘a man’. I hope Collins’ disclosure starts to rewrite the image and the expectations young athletes have about openness and their behavior.

    • Em

      Paul, I think you made a great statement, it all really starts with the “don’t drop the bar of soap” joke in the locker-room that has been around for decades. I think another twist to this discussion is the men, or lack-of, who are involved in dance, figure-skating, gymnastics, etc…need to not feel ashamed for their interest in traditionally non-male-drive sports. I hope in the future more boys will be able to pursue these sports and not be bullied in school and in the community, because these sports are heavily stereotyped and the jokes/attitudes of many are completely damaged and degrading.

  • Em

    The reason this makes news today, in my opinion, (because some of you are asking) is because he is breaking a barrier. This wouldn’t be making news if it was common and happened regularly. This is a huge step forward for the traditional culture of male-dominated sports, which happens to also be homophobic. I personally like to see victories (instead of the opposite) make headline news. He has no doubt inspired countless male athletes (of ALL ages) in male-driven sports to not be ashamed or embarrassed of their sexual identity. Boys and men in sports have decades worth of gender-driven stereotypes to conform to, and it’s refreshing to see Jason take a stand for himself and the gay community. He has my support for his actions (and for making headline news).

  • Ann

    I didn’t know gays could be black too.

  • Wally

    At least nobody here compared it to how Jackie Robinson broke the race barrier. It’s not the same.

    Appropriate that a basketball player “comes out,” because there’s a FULL COURT PRESS to mainstream everything GLBT: marriage, sports, entertainment, fashion, and so this is no surprise.

    With Obama going to left wing bigots for his lists of “hate groups,” better get on the gay bandwagon “homophobes,” before this Administration starts compiling lists for the diversity re-education camps.

  • Nicholas

    I don’t know. I’m just surprised at how behind the times we seem to be. Polyamory and cannabis should already be accepted and appreciated by now. What the heck is the problem with this world?

  • Sue de Nim

    I wish the conservative Christians who are so riled about this were equally riled about behaviors by famous athletes that Jesus had a lot more to say about: greed, abuse, violence, adultery, self-aggrandizement, etc.

  • scott44

    I think it affects the country as much as if I got news coverage because I have a hang nail on my11th toe. I for one do not care that a person as sex or what have you with a person of the same sex.