You just might be called one if you have any doubts whatsoever that college football player Michael Sam who announced a while back that he's gay, is courageous or made history. You just might be labeled a homophobe if you're not rushing to acclaim his action as "unprecedented" and "postmodern". You certainly will be consigned to the ranks of what the enlightened elite calls homophobes if you aren't at least proud, respectful, and supportive of Michael Sam. Watch out! Being cast as a homophobe in today's politically correct culture puts you on the negative side of the balance sheet.
Sam's statement has created somewhat more hub-bub than NBA player Jason Collins's announcement of last year perhaps because, as eligible for the NFL draft, Sam could be the first openly homosexual NFL player. But back in April, even Collins's moment of truth elicited a response from Barack Obama who referred to Collins's announcement as an "extraordinary measure of progress."
There's something curious about the matter if you stop and think about it for a minute. First, I really don't know any homophobes. I don't know anyone who has a fear of homosexuals, who is so afraid that he won't speak to a homosexual or who is so terrorized by homosexuals that he would cross the street to avoid possibly grazing shoulders. I know of no one who would first inquire as to a person's sexual preferences before patronizing their business, calling them a friend or helping them as a neighbor. A homophobe is a rare phenomenon.
Second, both Sam and Collins seem intent on emphasizing that their identity is not their sexuality but their profession. Sam himself testifies that he's a "football player", that's who he is, that his sexual preference shouldn't be a "big problem" that being gay is "nothing" compared to the hardships he's endured in his life. Jason Collins has offered much the same. He doesn't have time to think about making history. He wants to focus on his job. He says that this is about Sam "just being a football player and me just being a basketball player and trying to help our respective teams win." Obama himself had this to say. "We judge people on the basis of their character and their performance, not on their sexuality. I'm very proud of him."
So if we judge people on their character and not on their sexuality, why are we talking about their sexuality?
In the current public discussion of these sports figures, having a same-sex attraction, being 'gay,' is characterized for us as nothing special, just another choice, an alternative life style, not a big deal. Anyone who doesn't buy into that characterization is a homophobe. Period. The label is tossed off freely, carelessly---and with not the kindest intentions.
The powers that be, that nebulous "they" have dictated that there will no discussion, no dissent, no ifs, no whys or maybes. If you don't care to agree--for whatever reason--that homosexuality is no big deal, then you, my friend, are a narrow-minded, nasty, backwards fool. You are a homophobe. Is nobody allowed a little time for introspection, questioning, wondering? How did homosexuality all of a sudden become no big deal after millenia of being considered something different? When did homosexuality become the norm? Or is it? Sam and Collins are telling us it's nothing, they're just regular guys but they and the chorus behind them are also telling us that they're different and special and courageous. For being normal? Which is it?