Today, we cheer for Jason Collins, who began a first-person column for Sports Illustrated by writing the following:
I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.
I don’t feel this urge to cheer for him because he’s a homosexual. After all, I wouldn’t cheer for another athlete because he’s a heterosexual.
Just imagine: High-five! You prefer a particular gender for sexual relations and potential domestic partnership. Yes! Fist bumps all around.
It’s so absurd, and yet, not that far off from what’s actually expressed by those who would attempt to discriminate against a certain type of people based on such things.
I cheer for Jason Collins because I cheer for courage. I cheer for Jason Collins because I cheer for social progress. I cheer for Jason Collins because somewhere there’s a young athlete confused about whom he or she is, and a black 34-year-old NBA center just made it easier for them to understand that they’re not weird, that their preferences aren’t wrong, that what they feel inside might just make them a little bit like Jason Collins. And that’s something for which cheering is worthwhile.