I’m happy for Michael Sam, the University of Missouri football player who recently “announced” that he was gay; I’m happy because he’s happy, not because I now know his sexual orientation. But, in this day and age I am still struggling with why this matters and who really needs to know.
I have many friends both male and female who are gay, including one with whom I have been friends since high school. And, I remember when he told me—years after we’d been friends—that he and his friend were more than just friends. OK. I appreciated that, told him so and we kept enjoying our lunch and otherwise random conversation. We continue to be close friends today.
If society somehow needs to know your sexual orientation if you are gay, then shouldn’t they also want to know the sexual preferences and practices of those who are not? These discussions should be confined to the bedroom between the participants. If the behavior is not criminal—forced, non consensual, with children or violent, then…who’s business is it? I bet there are some heterosexual’s whose practices should raise more eyebrows and hell than this.
Sam is a dynamic All-American football player, who could very well become the first openly gay member of the NFL. Key word here is “openly” as I am sure there are many gay men and women in numerous professions—professional sports included, who fear being socially and professionally ostracized while the matter of who they love should never be an issue. And, while it is illegal to discriminate for ones sexual orientation, it sadly doesn’t stop the critics and hate mongers.
Maybe I am in the minority, because I don’t judge people and care less beyond how they conduct themselves, treat others and perform professionally. Sam confided in his team, who kept his “secret” for five years. That speaks volumes when everything seemingly finds its way onto social media and is shared with the world as quickly as possible.
Perhaps they didn’t share his “secret” because it didn’t matter to them. And, it shouldn’t matter to us, either.