Bil Browning

NBA Player Jason Collins Comes Out of the Closet

Filed By Bil Browning | April 29, 2013 11:49 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living
Tags: coming out of the closet, Jason Collins, NBA player comes out

Bravo to Washington Wizards NBA player Jason Collins! He has become the "first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport" by coming out in a piece posted to Sports Illustrated this morning.

jason-collins-smiling.jpgCollins' essay on why he decided to come out publicly and how his family took the news is spectacularly written and profoundly personal.

I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston's 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I'm seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn't even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I'd been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, "Me, too."

The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn't wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? When I told Joe a few weeks ago that I was gay, he was grateful that I trusted him. He asked me to join him in 2013. We'll be marching on June 8.

No one wants to live in fear. I've always been scared of saying the wrong thing. I don't sleep well. I never have. But each time I tell another person, I feel stronger and sleep a little more soundly. It takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret.

Go read the whole essay for your feel-good moment of the day.


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