It’s 2013, y’all. I don’t understand why this kind of thing has to be explained anymore, but based on the reactions to Jason Collins, veteran NBA player, coming out today as the first current gay male player in US team sports, it does.
Here’s how some conservatives I follow (and one I don’t) reacted on Twitter:
So Jason Collins is a hero because he’s gay? Our standard for heroism has dropped quite a bit since Normandy.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) April 29, 2013
Exhaustive summary of others, both positive and negative, at Twitchy, as usual.
To those with any passing contact with anyone who is not exclusively heterosexual, this kind of reaction is utterly baffling. Ideally, no one would care. Ideally, sexual orientation is totally irrelevant to how someone is perceived and treated in the world. We don’t yet live in that ideal world. Until we do, coming out is incredibly important, especially for friends, family, and celebrities. The biggest influence of personal opinion about the normalcy of LGBT people and issues is knowing someone who is. Even on the question of gay marriage, knowing someone who’s gay is a huge factor.
Of course, this assumes people like the above believe in equality and normalcy. They don’t. Implicit in their “who cares?” is the desire for the issue to just go away so they don’t have to face it. This is typical of those on the losing side of cultural arguments. You can also see this in the phenomenon of parents being horrified at having to explain life to their children (or, being parents). No, having openly gay celebrities doesn’t mean you have to demonstrate gay sex to your kids. A simple “some people like boys, some like girls” will suffice.
This, in a nutshell:
Glad people are “over” the Jason Collins thing. They only want to be forced to deal with gays when they are telling them not to get married.
— Justin Smith (@GinghamQuaker) April 29, 2013
Now, by openly airing their disdain for coming out stories, people like this are doing the opposite of what they intend. Instead of squashing the story, they literally promote it and their own ignorance in the process. This can only serve to further isolate them in the public debate. So let them speak. It can only be good for the rest of us.