For my generation (Gen X), and the generations younger than mine, this whole gay thing is the largest shrug of the shoulder you will ever see. The vast majority of us do not care if someone is gay. Further, the vast majority of us do not possess the stereotypes of ‘what being gay means.’ By and large, we do care if someone is discriminating against another on the basis of being gay, which is why I still have hope for the future once our younger generations take power and the older bigoted generations die.
However, listening to both Angelo Cataldi and some of his older callers on 94WIP’s Morning Show this morning was a wake up call for me and perhaps other of the younger generations, because the stereotypes are still there, and the bigotry is still there. In case you haven’t heard by now, Missouri football star Micheal Sam announced yesterday that he was gay. He did so because eventually it was going to come out, since he will be in the NFL Draft coming up in April, and everyone of his teammates knew, everyone on campus at the University of Missouri knew, and the Kansas City Star newspaper knew. It was an open secret, but it was going to be a public secret, so Sam decided to announce it on his own terms. Now, let that sink in for a second. The Missouri football team all knew Sam was gay all season long. And the Missouri football team went on to have one of its most successful seasons ever.
Whatever locker room disruption there was by having a gay teammate was minimal and was overcome, and did not prevent the team from having success. And yet there were the bigots on the radio this morning, talking about how it would disrupt the lockerroom, because they all shower together and the gay one would looking with lust at his teammates, echoing Jonathan Vilma. I always laugh at that. If a gay teammate looks at your naked body, so that fuck what? What harm is being done to you? Are you so insecure in your manhood that you don’t want any one looking? (Indeed, wouldn’t you be more worried if the gay teammate was not looking? But I digress).
I guess it is a big deal because it is the first, but this time next year I bet there will be several openly gay players in the NFL and no one is going to think it is a big deal. So long as the gay football player hits as hard, tackles as good, and runs the ball as good as his straight teammates, people then will think nothing of it.