Matthew Cohen, MSW

Matthew Cohen, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Jason Collins: The First Gay Athlete to “Come Out” In A Major Sport

Bravery is one of many words that come to mind when describing Jason Collins, an NBA veteran and the first gay athlete to publicly “come out” while still playing in one of America’s four major sports ( Basketball, Football, Baseball and Hockey). It is the sort of bravery that  is evoked when we marvel at Jackie Robinson or Rosa Parks; it is that historic and that monumental.

Jason tells his story in a Sports Illustrated feature article from the first person perspective. He provides us with a detailed look into the mentality of someone who is forced to live a secretive life and step-by-step takes those courageous steps needed to live a life of openness; something that we all deserve but cannot always find.

The article gives a terrific insight into the nuances of “coming out” and how each relationship and story is a unique experience. Especially moving is Jason’s account of telling his twin brother.

I didn’t come out to my brother until last summer. His reaction to my breakfast revelation was radically different from Aunt Teri’s. He was downright astounded. He never suspected. So much for twin telepathy. But by dinner that night, he was full of brotherly love. For the first time in our lives, he wanted to step in and protect me.

Normally I would give a more complete synopsis but in this case I urge you to read the full story; reading only a piece will not give you the true grasp of how remarkable it is. This should be required reading for any serious Social Work program and is an instant milestone in the fight for LBGTQ rights. One day Jason Collin’s story will be told inside the same continuum that started as tragedy with Stonewall Riots and the AIDS epidemic, and yet continues to show itself as lesson in freedom and equality as more states legalize same-sex marriage, and more brave souls emerge to publicly fight for the rights they deserve.

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