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John Amaechi’s Terrible Argument About Why Young Gay Athletes Should Stay in the Closet

Oh, John Amaechi. Just as we were anointing you the face of gay activism in sports, you went and ran your mouth about how young athletes, if they want any hope of a professional career, should stay in the closet. This is the message you want to send to youth?

Amaechi is in favor of athletes coming out. This much we know. But when it comes to a certain class of sports types — the young, unestablished set — coming out is less important, says the former NBA star. Perhaps damaging. And wholly stupid, even.

“I don’t insist that they be a Joan of Arc,” says Amaechi of gay athletes. “Why? Because that is what would happen: they would get burned at the stake. And how does that help anyone?” Isn’t that a little dramatic? Not for a young player, who is not yet established it isn’t. The fact is, you’re more likely to be hit by a meteor than to make it as a Premier League footballer, so why add another reason why you might not make it? … This is one of the few sports where we have a previous example,” he says. “And no, it didn’t change things. Justin Fashanu came out [in 1990] and we saw what happened. He was destroyed. It killed him. Literally. Can we honestly be sure any of that has changed?”

Nope, much of it hasn’t! But the playing field (both figuratively and literally) won’t improve any until gay athletes play openly.

And while Amaechi’s argument about how the leagues, and not necessarily the players, need to make pro sports a more welcoming environment is valid, he’s arguing that gay athletes bear no responsibility to helping bring about change: “I think the mistake we make is that we’re looking at the footballers as if they are the problem. The FA framed the argument that because no gay footballer is brave enough to come out, homophobia will continue to exist. But it’s not the job of the minority to make the environment safer.”

He is wrong. It is our responsibility, inasmuch as it is everyone‘s responsibility. If we do not fight for an equal stance on the soccer field or basketball court, it is foolish — stupid, even — to assume someone else will come along and do it for us.

That’s like saying heterosexuals must carry the equality legislation fight alone. We’ve tried that. It went nowhere. And so too will this strategy.

On:           Feb 19, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , ,
    • Sean214

      Hypocrite! It’s all about money. So it’s more important to be successful financially then it is to be happy and healthy with who you are. I’m sick and tired of these athletes, celebs, etc. valuing the dollar over mental health.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 9:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      Gee, should minority athleats also wear make up to make them look white since that might get them more advertising deals in racist areas of the country?

      Feb 19, 2010 at 10:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tommy

      It’s not just about the money though. The sheer level of abuse – much of it extremely homophobic, though at least the racist chants have toned down a lot in the UK – that footballers get from the fans and the tabloid press is incredible. It’s much worse than in other sports like rugby. I can see how it would be extremely damaging psychologically for the players and his loved ones, along with his team. Not to mention, he’d likely get blacklisted or kicked out of a sport that he’d been working his ass off since a kid to play (eg. for “discomforting the dressing room”) – and many pro footballers don’t have a back-up option since they didn’t go to uni. Would you risk your dream for your integrity? I’d like to think that at least some players would, but it’s a terrible sacrifice and you can see why no one has come out since Fashanu.

      I think the FA, the managers, the media, the fans and the straight footballers also have to make a major effort to make it easier to come out. Crack down on the really disgusting homophobic chants, speak out on the issue, say that you won’t ostracize a gay teammate. We need more gay-friendly players to speak out than David Beckham, much-appreciated though he is. I think at this stage that only an established star, someone who is widely respected and proven (like Thomas the rugby player), can come out with most of the fans’ support and some decency from the media. It will still take real guts to do it, but I think that it’s absolutely necessary to make the sports world more humane.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 10:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ChicagoJimmy

      John is wrong. It’s the next generation that will lead sports into a time of greater acceptance for homosexuals. Sorry to say that John is part of an older generation that had a much different coming out experience than current teens. These kids have more acceptance of differences and have supports in the form of gay/straight alliances and LGBT community centers than people just a few years older than them.

      It’s going to be the young football player, soccer star, ace pitcher, or other all-star athlete who came out as a teen, has always been comfortable in his own skin, and will enter professional sports with a shrug of his shoulders about the situation that starts the attitudinal shift.

      There is a gay Tim Tebow out there somewhere just waiting to shock the sporting world with how normal and acceptable it is to be a gay professional athlete.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 11:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev

      Well, Amaechi is not saying that athletes shouldn’t come out.

      He’s saying that it’s incredibly for a young (and presumably non-star) to come out because of the coin.

      I get Queerty’s editoral position on this but I have to stick with Amaechi’s argument on this. It will take a few great players that are either at the height of their career or in the twilight of a great career (and not retired) in various sports to come out before younger athletes (just imagine the draft in these instances?) come out.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 11:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev


      Yeah, I do believe that there is a gay Tebow out there.

      But I believe that a gay Tony Romo or a gay Drew Brees will have to take the lead

      Feb 19, 2010 at 11:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dontblamemeivotedforhillary

      Once again Tommy is right (you need a column, for reals) I am disappointed with John Amaechi for ‘scolding’ gay youth for coming out the closet but a similar situation happened with an Australian rugby player who’s life became unbearable after coming out. The next generations should not have to regress because the previous generations failed them. Ask yourself: What happens when you have no choice about the closet like in the case of Olympian Johnny Weir? Martina Navratilova, the best female tennis player in history, lost endorsements when she came out as a lesbian (or they didn’t come knocking) but she has the last laugh with a free lifestyle and very wealthy spouse.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 11:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Colby12


      “Would you risk your dream for your integrity?”

      duh!! YES!!! My life’s dream is to be happy and healthy. I have no sympathy for these guys who are valuing fame and money over be true to who you are.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 11:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Colby12


      Johnny Weir is in the closet or at least the “glass closet”. He has never come out and said that he is gay.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 11:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev


      The problem with a “gay Tim Tebow” scenario is that Tim Tebow really isn’t all that highly thought of as a pro football prospect.

      The young player that does come out would have to be PHENOMENAL.

      And I’m talking on the level of, say, a Lebron James or a Dwight Gooden (now I’m dating myself).

      The young athlete would have to have an undeniable level of skill and #7 is right; even in that scenario, that athlete would lose endorsements for a time.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 11:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • delurker

      It’s quite obvious that queerty editors and many commenters do not or have not played sports on any level (and just because you call yourself a “jock” on your cruising site profile doesn’t really make you one).

      There is a great deal of homophobia in pro sports and at all levels. Amaechi isn’t saying that players should never come out but young less established players would have a rough go at it.

      And the race analogies don’t fly, people. Your race or ethnicity is patent for all the world to see. Homosexuality is mostly latent.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 12:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dirty Ole Man

      Most of you sissies have never played a sport in your
      entire lives, so who the hell are you to preach about
      what an athlete should or shouldn’t do?! This man has
      done more for the cause of Gay awareness than most of you
      sullen fags will do in a life time!So continue to sit at your computers drinking your mint tea and be the miserable depressed bitches you are!


      And this bullshit story proves once again just how RACIST
      Queerty truly is. Every article featuring a person of color
      will always have a sarcastic and negative connotation attached to it!

      Feb 19, 2010 at 12:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • A now confused John from England (used to be just John but there are other John's)


      Tommy you a Brit? I agree with most of what you are saying though I’m not sure when David Bechkham was for gays? Could you provide a link? I know he uses, sorry, I mean courts the gays…?

      But to follow on from what you and saying and what Amaechi is saying about the ‘Top Down’ approach is that I think the FA could TRY and get their players to actually get some brain cells.

      Someone like Ashley Cole and even Beckham were playing IN premiership football since they were 10. You know with the youth teams from the league. They miss school and the coaches don’t encourage them to even open a book.

      Their whole life and world is football. Now maybe this is on purpose? To get the most, sorry, ‘best’ out of the player and to have full control.

      The managers even get them married off.

      John Terry was called scandalous because he just married his baby mama at the grand old age of 29.

      But you know who was gay and got so much sh*t and should come out? Sol Campbell.

      He walked out during the match with Arsenal. He had a breakdown. Wenger sold him low. He got gay taunts all the way the through. He improved and got in with Portsmouth. And then bang, he’s back with Arsenal. Back on top.

      Now if that isn’t impressive I don’t know what is. He took on the homophobes and won.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 1:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tessie Tura

      @Chitown Kev: I believe the gay Tebow is already there. Tebow.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • delurker

      @Dirty Ole Man: Most haven’t been in the military either, so it’s easy to deride the culture and downplay the risk many gay soldiers face at the hands of virulent homophobes.

      Armchair activists can deal in abstract slogans and feel-good pap with having to care about the facts on the ground.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • delurker

      Er, I mean “without.”

      Feb 19, 2010 at 1:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev

      @A now confused John from England (used to be just John but there are other John’s):

      Yeah, and of course with Sol Campbell, throw in the racist taunts that come his way too.

      @Tessie Tura:
      For sure, Timmy Tebow sets off some low level pings on my gaydar (he sure loves licking and kissing his black teammates, that’s sure) but…

      1) I am so sick of Tebow (and the Florida Gators, generally, I’m a Nichigan and ‘Bama fan)

      2) I don’t think Tebow will be a great pro football player at all.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 1:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev

      @Chitown Kev:
      Uh, that’s Michigan and ‘Bama fan…

      Feb 19, 2010 at 1:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Geoff M

      His personal story is amazing and he does incredible work with kids however I’m not sure I would spout this opinion if I were in his shoes. It seems destructive even if it’s true.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 1:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      No. 11 · delurker said…

      And the race analogies don’t fly, people. Your race or ethnicity is patent for all the world to see. Homosexuality is mostly latent.
      Most haven’t been in the military either, so it’s easy to deride the culture and downplay the risk many gay soldiers face at the hands of virulent homophobes.

      Armchair activists can deal in abstract slogans and feel-good pap with having to care about the facts on the ground.

      Really? So then if people thought Lee Trevino was Italian or Jennifer Lopez was French they should have gone with it? There are plenty of mixed race individuals that can pass. Additionally, your argument about the military DOES have an exact tie in to race. Should they have used the bigotry of others to keep blacks out of the army? Since when do we tell people to step on their own rights because it will interfere with others bigotry. What a sad fearful life people who think that must lead.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev



      How soon we forget all the haterade that went Magic Johnson’s way from NBA players when he confessed that he was HIV+. And magic Johnson was a sports legend by that time.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      No. 12 · Dirty Ole Man
      Most of you sissies have never played a sport in your
      entire lives, so who the hell are you to preach about
      what an athlete should or shouldn’t do?! This man has
      done more for the cause of Gay awareness than most of you
      sullen fags will do in a life time!So continue to sit at your computers drinking your mint tea and be the miserable depressed bitches you are!


      And this bullshit story proves once again just how RACIST
      Queerty truly is. Every article featuring a person of color
      will always have a sarcastic and negative connotation attached to it!

      LOL!!! How pathetic and stupid you sound. You cry like a baby about people being negative about others because of their race and yet what is the first thing you do? Come on here and call everybody Sissies and bitches. And the sad thing is, it looks like you are actually too dumb to notice that. Your assumption that nobody on here has played sports or been in the military is idiotic and bigoted. If there were no gays in the military then DADT wouldn’t be an issue now would it? So here’s an idea, why don’t you go back to your home, sit in your chair, and think paranoid thoughts about what a huge victim you are.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein

      He IS wrong, I’m sad to say. One doesn’t fight prejudice and hatred by lying and concealing oneself.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • A now confused John from England (used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @Chitown Kev:

      Tebow. YAWN. Come on, what is the big deal about????!

      Feb 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev

      @A now confused John from England (used to be just John but there are other John’s):

      Oh, Tebow was always hyped like that even in his freshman year at Florida.

      I mean, he’s a good college QB in a Steve Young mold but he doesn’t have Young’s arm. And he gets way too antsy in the pocket…I’m not impressed with his talent (that he will need for the next level).

      Feb 19, 2010 at 2:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR

      I disagree with Amaechi. Queety is right, he sounds as if he expects the straight folk to do everything to fix the situation, and it’s not going to happen if the gay athletes insist that they get to stay in the closet.

      Straight folk are our ALLIES. That implies that WE do our fair share of the work, as well.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 3:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev


      Now I would say that this would be easier for, say, a Gareth Thomas.

      Hell, a young athlete may be dealing with his sexuality (and the homophobia) along with becoming a professional athlete.

      And truthfully, we don’t know what is known in the lockerroom.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • delurker

      @Chitown Kev: Right. I remember when he briefly made a return to playing bball after his retirement. There were players who publicly stated they did not want to share the court with him.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dontblamemeivotedforhillary

      @Colby12 Johnny Weir doesn’t need to come out of the closet – there never was one! It’s the media (and their bo-toxed closeted presenters) who are afraid to be so casual about someone’s sexuality, unless being derisive (like insecure queens here with sad empty lives) John Amaechi just slammed the closet door on future generations of sports heroes.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 4:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • A now confused John from England (used to be just John but there are other John's)


      Exactly but best we forget that!

      But I think he could’ve worded it better…

      I would’ve said….

      ‘if your whole life is football/soccer/hockey/bball etc, despite how talented you are an you truly want to be free, then be who you are and be out but if you know in YOUR heart you will NEVER be happy unless you are always playing bball/soccer/football/etc, then stay in the closet and bide your time.’


      Feb 19, 2010 at 6:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason

      I think Amechi trapped himself between the notions of advocacy and information. He isn’t actually advocating that gay athletes stay in the closet, although that’s the way it comes across. What he is actually saying is that the facts speak for themselves. The cold, hard fact is that sports is very homophobic and sponsors are very homophobic.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onCloud9

      who is this man?

      Feb 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • delurker

      @onCloud9: A straight porn star who came out as gay recently.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 7:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onCloud9

      @delurker: oh good, thanks, I thought he was somebody important.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 8:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ClosetorCash


      Feb 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NoDoubleStandards

      There is always got to be a first. If we followed all these people say never come out- where would gay rights be now?

      That’s in a nutshell the problem here. It is easy to just do what’s easy rather that what’s right.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 8:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan brickman

      I told you so…he only came out for the book deal……

      Feb 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • lj

      He has issues.

      Feb 20, 2010 at 12:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bobito

      @Colby12: the trouble is, it’s not just about “fame and money” – it’s being able to live by doing something you love doing, that you also happen to be really good at. Whether you’re a professional athlete, or an actor or singer – if you really have what it takes to be up there with the best, and you can financially afford to devote your energy to being your best at what it is you do… yeah, that’s a dream worth making sacrifices for. Which is why Amaechi is saying it’s a bad idea to put that dream at risk when you haven’t had enough success to rise above the inevitable backlash… and there WILL be backlash.

      But it’s a slippery slope, because when do you have “enough” success to risk it?

      Feb 20, 2010 at 4:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NoDoubleStandards

      @bobito: And that does not address the issue of those who choose to fight even where they are employed just for the sake of survival. Who has more to lose, the star who wants a particular career or the person who is on the edge of society who really needs that job, and will be fired if they tell anyone, which will put them on the street? Part of issue here for me is how we turn stars into fetish that must be protected. Why? There are far more people who are brave in far worse situations. The worse that these kids will face is verbal attacks. On the other hand, others are facing far worse, and yet, choose to make the right choice anyway. The only way these arguments over closet and potential famous people make sense is where we de-contextualize.

      Feb 20, 2010 at 12:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chucky Cheese

      WOW……I can see where folks are saying Amaechi is wrong. But just remember you’re NOT in that persons position who is trying to make their dream come true and NOT trying to be a cause for a community.

      In the end he, or she will be left to deal with the nastiness and negativities that will come from it and it won’t only come from players but a whole of other people in powerful places as well.

      And once their depressed and tormented who are they going to look to…..Queerty and it’s readers??????? NOT!

      C’mon ya’ll I’m not for people staying in the closet but then again sometimes you need to go for “self” and make your own decisions and live by them.

      That’s why Queerty is a blog and none of them are trying to be in such of position to see how it would all play out.

      Feb 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chucky Cheese

      I meant they’re not their excuse the typo!

      Feb 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NoDoubleStandards

      @Chucky Cheese: Some people are in far worse positions. Again, the excuses we make for the rich and famous and even the about to be rich and famous in this society is why gay rights and every other issue is at stand still right now. No one ever takes responsibility for anything.

      Feb 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev

      Well, I don’t think that Amaechi is talking about the rich and the famous (relative to sports stars, that is) but about the you and inexperienced.

      And Amaechi actually cites some evidence in the case of Justin Fashanu.

      I mean, we’ve all been 18 and 19 years old and as well as some of these 18 or 19 years can actually play, do they have that type of maturity to be able to withstand those slings and arrows that will surely come their way?

      And what is the responsibility of the gay community in supporting a young and out athlete like that?

      And I do have to note here that Amaechi seems to be making an appropriate distiction between team sports and individual sports (such as tennis or golf).

      Feb 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NoDoubleStandards

      @Chitown Kev: Regardless of what he means, there seems to be this notion that there should be a different standard for stars or the potential stars, and that is where I differ. I realize what i am advocating is not easy, but easy won’t change things.

      My problem with the comment as I have said repeatedly on these sorts of subject is that if we keep making excuses for people to be afraid (even if valid), then nothing changes. What if others who opened doors had said and done as those who advocate being afraid are saying the next generation should do? Remember, that’s what we are discussing here whether it is a gay actor or an athlete.

      What happens if everyone takes his advice? What changes?

      Let me explain this by anecdote. My high school principle taught girl’s basket ball in all black high school during segregation. When desegregation started, she fought to have her girls play the game in white schools that had girl’s basketball teams (gender issues are another discussion entirely).

      She told me about how she and the girls (who elected bravely to go with her) would attend some game, and how a few times people would threaten their lives loudly and on one occasion how some people in the crowd spit on them as they walked by the bleechers. I asked her “how could she do that?” By which I meant, take such a risk because of the dangers involved her life and those of her girls. She remarked, “The only other choice is to leave things as they are.”

      That’s the issue here.

      Yes, we should support gay people (just as she supported her girls), but we should understand that we need to expect courage.

      Look, right now, as a creative person I am going through this myself. I am having to write something and not give a shit what anyone thinks of it. I am not saying this is easy, even for something you love, but it is a part of life’s challenge that things are not going to be easy. We each have our parts to play in this or nothing changes. The only other choice is to leave things as they are.

      Feb 20, 2010 at 3:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev


      Believe me, I am feeling you and I am feeling Queerty on their editorial slant but the fact remains that there is a big difference in terms of MATURITY for stars than potential stars.

      For example, the “gay Brett Favre” I would have no sympathy for. The “gay Mark Sanchez”…different story.

      We expect more maturity from older adults than younger adults generally in this society. Why should a gay athlete be any different.

      Feb 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NoDoubleStandards

      @Chitown Kev: Except i see people making these excuses for 30 year old actors with established careers, and what’s more they do so by trying to put down anyone who questions a lack of courage on the part of the star. I understand the age issue, but as I said, the girls on my principle’s old team were 15 and 16 at the oldest. The problem to me with the gay effort is our expectations are wrong.

      Feb 20, 2010 at 7:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kyle24


      I loved your story! Thanks for sharing. Those young girls playing basketball when it wasn’t easy to do so could teach John Amechi and thing or two.

      Feb 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NoDoubleStandards

      @Kyle24: One of the reasons that the “me generation” and Reaganism (indeed the whole conservative focus on individualism above all else like community) so fucked us up as a world and society is that we expect so little of each other. We have fewer relationships now than before. Her story is a great story. Yet, people today have went from imagining a world like those girls (where they would go up into the lion’s den of those who hated them because they wanted something better) to pushing the “virtue” of people lacking courage for personal gain. Personal gain rather than sacrifice for community is considered the ‘virtue’ now. It is fucked up, but we have been this way since the 80s. From the president on down to each of us, we expect so little of each other and change is slower because of those lower expectations. Obama is not at fault for fucking ups over because he wants to get re-elected, the star of a show is not at fault for coming out because of course he wants a career, and young athletes should not come out because of course they have reasons to fear. Where does it stop?

      Feb 20, 2010 at 9:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • reason

      I fail to see the problem with his statement, primer league, Spanish league, Italian league et al. are extremely homophobic; beyond that the fans are dangerously violent. It’s not just about money it’s about the very real possibility of loosing your life, I don’t see how anyone that loves others could sincerely advise them to do that.

      Feb 20, 2010 at 10:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NoDoubleStandards

      @reason: Do you read anything beyond posting your own thoughts. I have already mentioned the problem with your argument. If we accept your argument that we should only do what’s safe, then nothing changes. But, then someone calling themself “reasons” is probably not given to reasoning. I have already given the example of African Americans down south having to do the same to obtain their rights in the 50s and 60s. The only people who don’t seem to get how civil rights work are gays. You can’t obtain civil rights by going it safe.

      Feb 20, 2010 at 11:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • reason

      Most times yes this time I didn’t bother reading the arguments, and I am not going to besides yours and maybe the ones after… I probably could have gone more in depth of why I drew the conclusions, but I was busy reading other news and didn’t bother. Nevertheless I understand where you are coming from and totally get that historically change has not come easy, it still doesn’t, and often times without blood, but I think times are a changin. The rights we have gained in the Gay community so far, I will probably be verbally crucified for saying this, are coming easier then other groups who had to struggle harder to get where they have gotten. There could be a number of reason why including the boom of the communication age which provides safe exposure to different people and ideas. Communications have made the world smaller and the pains of others more visible, and has also added in educating people of how utterly stupid bigotry and hatred is. Still a long way to go, but I think we can do it through education and safe engagement rather then with the loss of precious lives. The people, ideas, leaders, discoveries, literature, art, and companionship we may never know because lives were snuffed out for stupid reasons during civil rights, WWII, crusades…

      Also the people are changing, we can see how some have suffered in this world and most are not willing to do that. While the avenues may be a bit treacherous they are not completely closed off like they were in the past, now lots in the minority groups can fly under the radar get a good education, a good job, a nice home, engage in fun activities, have a partner. There still may be discrimination and hurt feelings, but their is a path and a lot of people are not willing to risk that to get bloodied up or killed in order to speed up Gay rights. Maybe we are more selfish, maybe its enlightened self interest, maybe today, under different circumstance from the past, we realize that there are other ways to get to where we want to go.

      Feb 21, 2010 at 3:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blksantos

      Compromise. Do whatever you think is right for you. Amaechi’s suggestion might have been hypocritical but its practicality can be applied by young closeted whose dreams is at stake because of their sexuality.

      Feb 21, 2010 at 3:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dame Helga von ornstein

      @Chitown Kev: Hey honey. Since you brought up Lebron James I was wondering if you saw this 60 minutes segment last year http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4901311n&tag=mncol;lst;1

      Check it (and his young running buddies out) and let me know what you think.

      Feb 21, 2010 at 3:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bobito

      @NoDoubleStandards: I agree with your argument, and your story about the basketball coach is truly inspiring. It also says something that her story isn’t better known, as she was a real pioneer. Thanks for posting it.

      There are ‘out’ performers – the problem is, we don’t know about most of them, because they’re not famous. Plenty of people have made the choice for personal integrity at the cost of a potentially more illustrious career. But it is a choice for each individual, and as I said in the original post, if you’re going to be closeted until you’re successful enough to keep on working despite the backlash, it becomes very easy to say to yourself over and over again: I’m not quite there YET, but soooon…. Fame can be very addictive. But so is heroin – that doesn’t make it a good thing for the person addicted to it.

      Feb 21, 2010 at 6:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NoDoubleStandards

      @blksantos: No, without any sense of shared responsibility to each other we end up where we find ourselves now, which is fighting a battle that is more uphill than it should be than in a society concerned at all anymore about how we are responsible to each other. Ironically, you share a lack of a sense of community with those who vote against us at the ballot box. They vote against us because along with hate they too only see the world from their narrow perspective and their needs. They will vote for abortion rights despite the Bible in California because it personally affects them while voting against us using that same Bible. That’s letting everyone do what they want without any sense of community. They rationalize their own behavior while condemning ours. We need a morality outside of their religion. That’s why they don’t understand the equality under the law argument. Individualism does not think about equality of anyone besides oneself and how one personally benefits rather than as a community and greater society- how we should view fairness. And telling us it is okay because it is “practical” again ends up in the same individualistic place that’s led us here. Your definition of practical is self serving.

      Feb 21, 2010 at 8:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NoDoubleStandards

      @bobito: I agree. This is not the first time this issue has come up, and with people further along in their careers at that. So, the argument that it is about their age or whatever is just smoke and mirrors. I am not advocating that people don’t seek to protect the kids from danger, but I am also against telling them to lie because of how it harms both them and the wider gay community. And, what people don’t get here, is how this harms the kids in question in ways that are not appreciated through psychological and emotional damage. We all have that damage of our lives before we came out.

      Feb 21, 2010 at 9:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NoDoubleStandards

      @bobito: Remember, what goes with the closet is the need to bring others- probably women who are unsuspecting into the mix. I find that incredibly disturbing someone would advocate the closet knowing that others will be hurt in the process, but we don’t care because some kid wants to be famous or wealthy.

      Feb 21, 2010 at 9:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev

      @Dame Helga von ornstein:

      OK, Maverick Carter makes my gaydar ping so loudly you’d think it was a 5 alarm fire.

      Check out the way he was eyeballing Lebron after they did the fistbump!


      “Personal gain rather than sacrifice for community is considered the ‘virtue’ now.”

      OK, but then what should be expected of the community in return?

      Also, exactly what are we defining as “the closet” here? Probably, there are a few athletes that are known to be gay but that would only be known in the locker room and/or the family

      Feb 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cj Maciejeski

      @ChicagoJimmy: ah, but i think you’re wrong. Sure, the athletes are going to come in with their young, fresh perspective on things, but the owners and the recruiters, and the advertisers, and the promoters are still gonna be old white guys. Old, white sports guys who are not gonna cotton to the idea of risking the reputation of their team, nevermind their advertising/endorsement dollars on supporting the career of some fag.

      Furthermore, are you really gonna tell me you’ve never kept your sexuality to yourself for fear of personal financial impact? You gonna kiss any chance of career advancement goodbye for your lofty principles? Principles don’t pay rent when the unemployment rate is 10%. We aren’t talking about leading top-tier players, here. We’re talking about advising high school and college kids not to sacrifice any chance they have of jockeying for a position to BE that player who is talented enough to overcome the firestorm. If lebron came out, he could probably rise above, because he’s phenomenal. If some unproven rookie took that risk, he’d never make it out of his rookie year.

      Seriously, take off the rainbow-coloured glasses, elton.

      Jul 17, 2010 at 3:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cj Maciejeski

      @NoDoubleStandards: There is a flaw in your argument. Desegregation DID come from the top down. It was federally mandated and backed up with the barrels of national guard rifles. Nobody is going to make sure a college or young pro player isn’t harassed in the locker room for being gay/suspected of being gay. This is especially true given institutionalized homophobia in coaching and administrative arenas. Furthermore, when it comes down to pay and endorsements, ANY player who comes out is going to see backlash, and if s/he’s just an okay player or hasn’t really hit their stride, that backlash can be potentially fatal to their career. Far more prudent for the player to bide his or her time and establish themselves in the sport before coming out. If they are valuable to the team (thus administration and owners) or beloved of fans (and their dollars, and thus advertisers), they will have much more likelihood of being able to A) survive the initial backlash and B) thus be positioned to become an advocate within the game, rather than an asterisk in ESPN trivial pursuit. It’s not just about people *coming out*. It’s the difference between ending a nascent career and having an established, marketable player with fan loyalty who can actually effect LONG-TERM change of opinion and eventually policy. Otherwise it has to be top-down nondiscrimination policies, so that those careers are *legally* protected, from the beginning.

      Anybody see that kind of reform coming any time soon?


      Uh huh.


      Jul 17, 2010 at 3:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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