A Toast to Jason Collins

30collins_cnd-articleInlineIf you’re a sports fan or a fan of life, you read a letter posted on Sports Illustrated by Jason Collins, an NBA basketball player who revealed today that he is gay. He is the first active athlete in a major American team sport to reveal that he is homosexual. It is a brave, eloquent, and yet somehow ordinary letter–there is nothing self-promotional or political about it at all. It’s simply he decided to share to help move the conversation along.

I was really moved by Collins’ courage. Yes, it took an immense amount of courage to do something that is becoming more and more normal–Collins talks about many of the stereotypes gay athletes face on their teams and in the locker room. This was not a decision he took lightly.

I wonder what the coming out process will look like in 10 to 20 years thanks to brave individuals like Collins. It’s an odd act, if you think about it. People don’t come out to reveal their gender or races. Sexuality is just as engrained into our genes as those elements of who we are. Will heterosexuals reveal that we’re heterosexuals just like homosexuals do? Or whatever your sexual preference is? Or will there be no great reveal–we’ll all just be who we are as we discover what that means?

Although I was touched by Collins’ bravery, I was perhaps even more moved by the support he received from fellow athletes and celebrities on Twitter. You can see a summary of some of those tweets here. I’m moved in general by any outpouring of support, and this was no different. I’m moved to see Collins’ peers be so accepting of his choice to share his sexual orientation with the world.

So today I toast to Jason Collins and everyone who supported him today. Although I don’t think he intended it this way, I think it’s a big step forward for a more loving, accepting society.