Tuesday, April 30, 2013

victory from the jaws of ...?

As in many such instances, there is something achingly human and achingly touching about National Basketball Association center Jason Collins' coming out of the closet and announcing he is gay.

Jason Collins
To live life in the shadows, to be constantly on guard, to fight endless uphill battles within or without, to suffer self-doubt and experience the indirect lash of the social microscope, to feel defiance surge and recede ... the universe of the homosexual man or woman, whether high-profile like Collins or no-profile like millions of others, has got to feel something like a war in which there is no escape ... just endless war... a painful, insistent smog lurking in even the happiest of moments.

A war.

But given the current uptick in a social willingness to accept and integrate and get bored with the persuasions of homosexuality, I wonder vaguely if Collins didn't want to grab some victory before the war was over. I wouldn't fault him if he did and I certainly don't mean to criticize his choices. I simply wonder: What does a battle-hardened and much-scarred veteran do when he looks around and there is no longer any war? How does s/he integrate those long years of suffering and anger and fear that now find no purchase or reason.

I am not suggesting that the battles of homosexuality are over in America. There is still plenty of animus pro and con. But for all the animus, it feels to me as if homosexuality is slowly taking its place alongside heterosexuality ... a fact of life ... interesting, sometimes exciting, but essentially boring ... couldn't we talk about something more interesting ... like basketball, perhaps? It feels to me (and I realize I could be playing the old-fart Pollyanna) as if the wave is cresting or has crested and all that remains is for the ocean to return to its less notable pastimes ... smooth and inclusive and dealing other, more current waves.

Grab some victory before the war or wave passes you by. How else to make sense of the lancing pains that laced the past?

I will applaud any man or woman who finds the courage to come out from behind the well-tended walls of secrecy. It takes real nerve, whatever the subject matter. Yes, the applause is deserved from where I sit. But what happens to a secret when it is no longer secret?

What's next on the agenda?

A Straight Pride parade?

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