It bothers some people that we exist
Michael Sam, from the University of Missouri, is an NCAA award-winning football player (named All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, Associated Press, Sporting News, the American Football Coaches Association, and the Football Writers Association of America; named Defensive Player of the Year by the Southeastern Conference), that people were predicting he would be a high level draft pick. Until, this last year, he came out as gay.
People revised their predictions down to fifth-round draft pick just before the draft happened, and when it was getting late in the sixth round even some of the sports commentators who had said that he shouldn’t have come out were beginning to express astonishment on the air that he hadn’t been picked, yet.
And then, when the Rams drafted him late in the seventh round, ESPEN cut to the camera crew at Michael Sam’s parents’ house, they were just in time to catch Michael and his boyfriend (a championship swimmer also from the University of Missouri) having a celebratory kiss.
Dan Savage, sex advice columnist, gay rights activist, and Seattle bon vivant, observed later in the day on twitter that “Gay guys who confirm the stereotypes, gay guys who shatter them – both exist, room for both, both can succeed!”
When Michael Sam came out, there was a flood of negative comments, many of which were couched in the, “Why do you have to announce it? No one cares! Why do you faggots have to flaunt your sexuality?”
It’s not flaunting when straight players have pictures taken with their wives and kids. It’s not flaunting when straight players go to strip clubs. It’s not flaunting when straight players are caught cheating on their wives. It’s not flaunting when a straight player kisses his still-not-married-to-him girlfriend who is clutching their baby in her arms when he gets the news that he was picked up in the draft last year……but it is flaunting when a gay player admits something most of his teammates already knew: that he was dating a guy who happened to be another athlete (different sport) at the same university. According to the haters it is flaunting when a gay player (being egged on by his parents, by the way) kisses his boyfriend in the excitement after learning that he’s been picked by an NFL team. They make the same argument about marriage. I’ve been told that the only reason gay people are fighting for marriage equality is because they want attention. Really. And when a young straight couple goes full-on bridezilla, expecting their parents and friends to go into debt to attend a destination wedding (complete with sending out a long list of all the parties and pre-wedding events bridesmaids are expected to fly to over the months leading up to the wedding, which includes the admonition that if you can’t commit to all these parties and trips, she’ll need to replace you as a bridesmaid), that’s just people showing respect for the sacred institution of marriage? It bothers people that we even exist. And no matter how much they may claim that they don’t hate us, if they think it’s all right to deny us equal protection under the law, if they think it’s all right to have the tax code treat our relationships differently, if they think that just wanting the simple legal protections of knowing that our loved ones won’t be kicked out of our homes if something happens to us because of those messed up tax and inheritance laws that allows relatives to nullify wills because we aren’t legally married, then they don’t understand what “love your neighbor” means.
And yes, they are bigots. Not kind of bigots, not misinterpreted sincerely religious people who love everyone, but full-fledged “obstinate, unreasonable, intolerant and/or narrow-minded adherent to a religious or other opinion.”
But I don’t want to end this on a downer. So let’s let John Oliver explain the awesome events of the weekend and put them into some perspective: