This week we saw Jason Collins become the first gay male professional athlete in a major US team sport. Yes, that was a lot of criteria to jump through, but hey, it’s Americriterian.
We’ve had a few already. Ian Roberts, Matthew Mitchum et al. I’m sure there are more, but those boys stand out. And yes, I know diving isn’t team sport, but Matt is so cute, I’d be mad not to include him.
All the gents are at the top of their game. I’m sure it’s difficult being different by being gay when you are in the spotlight playing such hetero-dominated sports.
I’ve met Ian a few times and his speech at a gay dads dinner a year or so back was touching. He is such a passionate, gently spoken and warm man. Ian really was a pioneer for his time, for all time.
It’s humble to want to just play the sport you are good at, but it’s wonderful for the young guys, gals and unsures who might flick on the telly every now and then to watch, to then find solace in the fact their idol is gay too. Save one life with that thought and it’s worth the pressure Jason, Ian and Matt all have gone through.
Roberts was already in playing his sport professionally when he broke out. Ian became a huge anomaly in the world of the all blokey aussie males followed by footy mums and girlfriends who watched the testosterone madness on field. Ian was an unknowing pioneer. He was a lone tsunami.
Either way, more openly gay sports folk help normalise the field and make the way for kids to see that gay is not the goal to kick but to be who they want to be – but just be good at it.