The biggest story of the week, and in sports in the past couple months, came yesterday with veteran NBA player Jason Collins announcing, at age 34, that he is gay. Almost instantly after the news we began dissecting the minutiae of the story, because that’s what we do now. Did he come out too late? critics asked. Was it all just a marketing stunt? the worst people you can imagine opined on message boards. Would it have been more meaningful if he were a star at the top of his game? others offered. If Collins was really, gay, why didn’t the FBI know about it ahead of time!? OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE. someone on InfoWars is probably saying right now.
And what about the fact that he isn’t even the first famous athlete to come out as homosexual? Why is he getting so much attention? I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume since you’re reading the website of a New York City-based fashion and arts magazine that most of the controversy around someone coming out seems ridiculous on its face to you, as it should. So what are the sports fans of the world complaining about? Besides hilariously bigoted projections of their Christian values, that is?
The main issue here is that Collins is the first athlete in one of the major team sports to come out. The traditional line of thinking about this day, which we have all seen coming for quite some time now, goes something like this: How will teammates in the locker room deal with a gay player in their midst?
It’s a nifty bit of concern trolling, because it assumes an objective distance for the person asking the question. It’s not that they themselves have a problem with homosexuality, it suggests, they’re just saying, you know, isn’t it a little weird to get changed in front of someone who might be sexually attracted to you?
Many of the people asking this type of question are, predictably, men who’ve been in locker rooms themselves on occasion, it’s safe to assume. So here’s the answer to that: I don’t know, how do you deal with it every single day that you’ve ever been to a gym yourself? Because guess what? There are gay dudes in there. Here’s another surprise: most of them don’t give a shit about your gross-ass body, bro.
The assumption behind the question itself reveals all sorts of prejudices that announce the person asking it as the worst sort of sexist. The obvious one is the stereotype about the sex-crazed homosexual, who can’t go five minutes in their normal daily lives without looking for a stranger’s penis to fall onto. But there’s another revealing aspect here as well. It’s a projection of the concern troll’s approach toward heterosexuality as well. I will guarantee any dude who brings up this locker room panic hypothetical has never once laid eyes on a single woman in the world without instinctively assessing her fuckability value. Because for people like this the idea of sex and sexuality is one of prey and predator. They assume that since every woman that comes across their path is rendered an object of potential lust, or unworthy of their standards, that this is how everyone else in the world behaves. For the heterbro, this flipping of the script is the first taste many of them get to see what it’s like to be the “prey.”
Obviously we’re all sexual beings, and considering a person’s attractiveness is a natural, and common thing, but there’s something else that mature, adjusted human beings do, and that is turn the boner radar off when it’s inappropriate every now and again. A gay man in the locker room isn’t an issue unless you’re making it one yourself. The only thing gayer than checking out another dude in the shower is being constantly paranoid that someone is doing it to you.