Jason Collins, who came out of the closet publicly in April, marched in Saturday’s Boston Pride Parade. This probably shouldn’t be news, but Collins is the only active member of the four major North American pro sports to be out as openly gay. “Openly gay” being a weird statement that hopefully in time we’ll look back at as something strange to have to “admit.”
Here’s a shot of the walking group from Kennedy’s Twitter account:
Alongside his wife, Kennedy also marched with the man he replaced in the House of Representatives earlier this year, openly gay former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank. In an op-ed piece, Kennedy spoke of why such participation is necessary:
This year, I’ll tell them one more thing. I’ll tell them about my friend Jason Collins. I’ll tell them that it was Pride – with all that pomp and circumstance – that encouraged him to come out and be proud of who he is.
Jason will march in the parade with me this year – a seven-foot tall, African-American, professional athlete in the midst of the costumes and colors and confetti. Hopefully, there will be people on the sidelines watching him the way he watched others last year; empowered and inspired not just by his participation but by the thousands of people flooding the streets of Boston to cheer him on. Maybe, those people will sign up to march themselves next year, just like Jason did. And that is why we celebrate Pride.
The next step, clearly, is for other active NBA players to act like the thousands and possibly millions of other heterosexual supporters of the movement for full civil rights for the LGBT community that have marched in pride parades, and take part in their local parade without shame or stigma. Take it from this humble author and awkward outdoors walker – it’s worth it, so much fun, and you’ll be on the right side of history.
(The comment section can disagree, but you wouldn’t want to be on their side, would you?)
Kudos to Collins, Congressman Kennedy, and to whichever NBA team that takes a flier on a smart, defensive-minded center like Collins during the offseason.