Today, at the end of a press conference, the President pivoted and returned to the podium to take one last question about Jason Collins coming out.
Q Jason Collins? Do you want to say anything about it?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I’ll say something about Jason Collins. I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man. And I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him.
One of the extraordinary measures of progress that we’ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality — not just partial equality, not just tolerance, but a recognition that they’re fully a part of the American family.
And given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who has excelled at the highest levels in one of the major sports to go ahead and say, this is who I am, I’m proud of it, I’m still a great competitor, I’m still seven foot tall and can bang with Shaq — (laughter) — and deliver a hard foul — and for I think a lot of young people out there who are gay or lesbian who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who is unafraid, I think it’s a great thing.
And I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly, and everybody is part of a family, and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance and not their sexual orientation. So I’m very proud of him.[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lT11yBulB8]
I think this is a very good thing. Collins appears to be a great player, and a good person. The more high-profile people like this who come out, the harder it becomes for the krazy kristian kooks to keep claiming gay people are just abominations. The claims like that, and the stereotypes just keep melting away.
Perhaps the only bad thing that comes of it is an every increasing stridency to the rhetoric of extreme right. Whether they care to admit it, the imagery they invoke (culture wars, warriors, etc.) escalates the potential for violence against gay people, and as they see themselves losing the culture war they started, they only become more desperate.
Let us know what you think in our poll:
What do you think of NBA player Jason Collins coming out as gay?
- He's on the fast train to hell. (8%, 1 Votes)
- I don't think it matters. (46%, 6 Votes)
- It's great, and I hope other pro athletes follow his lead. (31%, 4 Votes)
- This is a bad thing. (8%, 1 Votes)
- I'll never watch an NBA game again. (0%, 0 Votes)
- He's a hero in my book. (8%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 13