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NCAA Player Comes Out

Derrick Gordon, a 22-year-old sophomore shooting guard for the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team, publicly came out of the closet on Wednesday (4/9/14), becoming the first active openly-gay male NCAA Division I basketball player.

Derrick came out to his family, coaches and teammates at the very beginning of April. That’s when he also decided to publicly acknowledge his sexuality.  He told an ESPN reporter “I didn’t want to have to lie or sneak. I’ve been waiting and watching for the last few months, wondering when a Division I player would come out, and finally I just said why not me?’”

Derrick did an interview with Outsports about his decision and explained the difficulty of leading a double life.  That double life began to crumble when Gordon’s then-boyfriend last summer posted a photograph on Instagram of the two of them in front of a gay bar on the New Jersey coast. Gordon was wary of the post but figured there was little chance someone would stumble across the photo on a random Instagram account and identify him and said gay bar. Shortly after the post, almost as though he wanted to be discovered, Gordon “liked” the photograph online. Within hours, some of his teammates asked him if he were gay.  Gordon denied it repeatedly, but that didn’t stop various members of the team from teasing him about it. The snickers and snide remarks carried on for weeks. Slowly, it consumed him.

“That was probably the lowest point I was ever at. I didn’t want to play basketball anymore. I just wanted to run and hide somewhere. I used to go back to my room and I’d just cry. There were nights when I would cry myself to sleep.  Nobody should ever feel that way.”

Gordon then revealed his secret to his teammates last Wednesday, with the help of team coach Kellogg. Gordon stood before them and revealed that he’s gay. As he shared with them his story of isolation, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. While it had been easy for some of the young men to tease someone they thought was gay, and someone who denied it… the impact of their actions hit home when Gordon revealed the speculation was true, and that the teasing nearly drove him from the team.

 “It was powerful for these players to see one of their brothers be so vulnerable,” said coach Kellogg, “even I had to turn away from the group in the room lest they see me get emotional. These are some inner-city kids, some rough, tough kids who Derrick wants to be friends with. They understand who he is a little bit better now.”

Shortly after the team meeting, Gordon was over the moon, spending this past weekend in New York City. Dancing at Industry, a gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen, Saturday well past midnight, Gordon said he had found something indescribable.

“‘Happy’ is not even the word,” Gordon said. “It’s a great feeling. I haven’t felt like this. Ever. It’s a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders. I can finally breathe now and live life happily. I told all the people I need to tell.  It feels like freedom

NBA Player Jason Collins Comes Out

The coolest most awesomest thing ever happened today. Jason Collins an NBA basketball player for the Washington Wizards came out as a proud gay African American man. This guy has no idea how many young African American men he’s helping by coming out. When you live in a small town in the bible belt of America all you hear is negative things about being gay and it can make you feel extremely lonely and isolated. After a while you start to believe all the negative things and begin to hate yourself. Seeing someone like Jason Collins come out can help change that… and that is a very huge big deal.

When Jason was a student at Stanford he became very good friends with Chelsea Clinton and the Clinton family. After he made his announcement today, Chelsea and her father former president Bill Clinton released statements.
President Bill Clinton’s statement:

I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.

Chelsea Clinton’s statement:

I am very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength and courage to become the first openly gay athlete in the NBA. His decision marks an important moment for professional sports and for our country. I echo what my father said in his statement and similarly hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.

After receiving a ton of public support via twitter, here’s Jason’s response:

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me thru email, texts, calls, tweets, letters, and every other form of communication. #support
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) April 29, 2013

Oprah to NBA Player Jason Collins: “You Are a Pioneer”

The day NBA center Jason Collins sat down to tell his coming-out story to a reporter from Sports Illustrated, he read a quote from the daily prayer book his grandmother gave him. Watch as Oprah recites the quote and asks Jason how it felt to take off the mask he’d been wearing for so many years. Plus, find out how Jason’s liberation has affected him—emotionally and physically.

Coming Out To Friends

Coming Out To Friends

After reading NBA star Jason Collins’s coming out story in Sports Illustrated and watching his interview on Oprah, I began thinking about my own coming out story. It was extremely freeing just like Jason said his experience was, but mine lacked national attention, a call from the president, thousands of articles, millions of supportive tweets, and a primetime Oprah Interview. Apparently you have to be a 7 foot NBA basketball player to get all that so I guess I can’t feel too upset at the snub I got from Oprah and President Obama when I came out (lol). My story was a little different. There was no big decision to come out to everyone all at one time. There was no call to family members to schedule a big sitdown talk. My coming out was a long journey that varied with each person I told. Some people I told face to face. Some people I told over the phone. Some I told with an email message. A couple times I got a close friend to tell someone for me. And then there was this one family member I told in a letter. I’ve written about my coming out story a couple times over the years but I’ve never written about the people I came out to and how each of those experiences played out. Of course everyone had different reactions when they found out and most reacted positively and expressed their love and support. There were a few negative responses but under the circumstances I understood. Hearing something like that is a lot to process and deal with so I prepared myself mentally (as best I could) for that possibility. I had no illusions about the risk I was taking by telling the people who meant the most to me. The thought of losing family and friends scared me to death but I knew it had to be done. I carried that load throughout my whole life and I just couldn’t carry it anymore. This secret was destroying me. I faked happiness for far too long and was finally ready for the real thing. It took a very tragic event to get to that revelation. I’ve written about that as well so I won’t go back into that dark twisted tale again in this post.

The first person I ever told was my friend Jessie (Jessica Kirk). I met her while working at a call center during my sophomore year at East Carolina University. At first I didn’t like her at all. I thought she was a loud rude stuck-up yankee and I’d have nothing in common with her. After working with her for a week somehow we became fast friends. We were so close that everyone at work thought we were dating. I decided right away that she’d be the first person I came out to. If we weren’t together at her apartment or hanging out at my apartment we’d be at work together or talking on the phone. I chickened out two or three times before I worked up the courage to tell her. We were on the phone one night playing the question game. I’d ask her something about herself and no matter what the question was we had to answer it truthfully. We took turns going back and forth for about an hour then I suggested a question that she could ask me. It was something stupid like what type of person are you attracted to or something like that. I think she could sense why I wanted her to ask that question but she played along anyway and asked. Then I told her I’m attracted to guys and I’m gay. I was scared as hell about how she might respond. Then she said that’s great DeMon I’m so happy you felt close enough to share that with me. I was speechless for a while but I could actually hear sincere happiness in her voice so I knew she really meant what she was saying. After getting off the phone I felt like a whole new person. For the first time in my life I was truly happy and looking forward to the future. I was amazed at how wonderful and freeing it felt to open up and tell someone this. I never gave much thought to that saying “the truth will set you free” until then. I know it sounds cliche but it’s the absolute truth. I’ll love Jessie for the rest of my life for helping me come out and live my life truthfully. I can’t think of too many people that have effected my life in the way she has and I’m very grateful for that.

The second person I told was my cousin. We grew up like brothers almost. I feared his reaction the most, but I knew I had to tell him. I tried to tell him right before he went away for boot camp but again I chickened out. Jessie knew I wanted to tell him so she suggested I write him a letter while he was away at boot camp. I thought it was a great idea so that’s what I did. Waiting for his response was nerve-racking. After a very long two weeks I finally got a response from him. He told me in his letter that he already knew and that it didn’t matter to him. He told me we were family and nothing is going to change that. Needless to say I was very happy to hear that from him. A lot of straight African-American men would have freaked out and never talked to me again… especially those who grew up in the south, so I give him props for not going that route. It made me respect him even more as a person after that. I also told him not to tell anyone else in the family and he kept that promise for years. That’s very commendable in our family because everybody knows everybody’s business and secrets don’t remain secrets for very long (lol).

The third and fourth person I told was my best friend Shante and her sister Tamika who I’m very close to as well. Shante was looking for a place so I asked her if she wanted my extra bedroom. While I was helping her move her things in I told her very casually that I was gay and I have a boyfriend that spends the night a lot. Her reaction was very positive. I wasn’t too worried about her reacting in a negative way because I knew she loved me and I knew she would never judge anyone. She’s just not that type of person. I would have told her sooner but she moved to Connecticut and got married right when I was starting college. After I told her of course she had a million questions and we stayed up all night drinking and talking. I wasn’t too worried about telling Tamika either. She has always been very open minded and not judgemental at all. She probably has the biggest heart out of anyone I know but she doesn’t let too many people see that so I’m blowing her cover by writing this (lol love you Mika). Shante and Tamika gave me huge boost of confidence right when I needed it most. Years later after my parents found out, Tamika called me and told me to come live with her for a while in South Carolina if I needed to get away from everyone while they sort things out. I told her I’d love to take her up on her offer but I have a dog and a boyfriend. She told me they were welcome too without hesitation. She swooped in right when I needed her most and I love her for doing that. I never felt like a freak around Shante and Mika. They were more than supportive, they were my cheerleaders when my life didn’t have much cheer in it. I don’t know anyone more loyal then they are to me. I love them both and I should tell them that a lot more often.

After telling those four I slowly became more comfortable sharing that with people. I think the whole coming out process for me lasted about 5 years. All four of them changed my life for the better and I love each and every one of them for it. Now everyone in my life knows I’m gay, both friends and family. Back when I was closeted I couldn’t even imagine my family still loving me the way they do. My parents haven’t disowned me (even though they don’t fully understand that being gay is not a choice), I can talk to my sister about my boyfriend and she’s totally supportive, and it’s made my friends and I even closer. I’m engaged to the most wonderful guy I’ve ever met and I’m very optimistic about our future together… and who knows, maybe my family will surprise me and attend our wedding. Anson says I shouldn’t give up hope so I’m trying to take his advice.

I would also like to acknowledge my friend Casey and her husband Joey. I forgot how I told Casey but I do remember how cool and supportive she was after finding out. Her husband Joey reacted pretty much the same as she did. He even went to a couple gay bars with me and my friend Tim before. It takes a very secure guy to go to a gay bar without feeling as though his manhood is being threatened (lol). A few years before I came out to my family, my friends and my boyfriend threw me a surprise birthday party. My sister and brother were there along with a few of their friends. Halfway through the party two drag queens showed up because my boyfriend invited them. When they walked in it was like the music stopped and everyone turned their attention to the lady-boys walking in singing happy birthday. Joey saw the panicked look on my face and quickly came to my rescue. He pretended they were his guest instead of mine, which was so completely amazing of him. I was on the verge on a breakdown and I don’t know what I would have done if Joey hadn’t been there to take that bullet for me. I’m not sure if I ever thanked him for that, so if I didn’t… consider this a slightly delayed thank you.

Missionaries of Hate

Uganda Missionaries of Hate
The African country of Uganda joined up with some very prominent AMERICAN Evangelicals (à la Pastor Rick Warren) to draft a piece of legislation in Uganda that would make being homosexual a crime punishable by either life in prison or DEATH. Yes, you heard me right… DEATH! In other words, if I lived in Uganda, and I were in a same sex relationship with a man that I loved, both of us would be arrested and sentenced to DEATH. Can you imagine getting arrested for being in love?  These evil people that claim to be “Christian” are all doing this in the name of God. These American evangelicals have millions of dollars at their disposal donated to fund a huge campaign to fight those who are gay and rob them of their basic civil rights and impose their beliefs on everyone. There are so many problems and ills that plague our society today like poverty, famine, disease, homelessness, poor education, racial genocide, war, etc but instead of using their power and resources to combat some of those issues, they choose to fight the gay community in order to strip them of their rights and in Uganda possibly end their life.  This makes no sense at all. What is “Christian” about that? I really didn’t intend to write all this and shout from my soapbox but things like this really angers me. The real point of this blog post was to get you to watch this 45 minute documentary about Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill and how American Evangelicals played a huge role in the creation of the bill. I’m warning you now that this video is very inflammatory and so ridiculous at times that you just want to laugh from frustration. The most absurd part of it is when the church pastor shows his congregation gay porn during one of his sermons condemning gays. Yep, I kid you not… gay porn on display right in front of the whole congregation, kids included. Just watch it, and let me know what you think. Evil comes in many forms and in this particular documentary the evil is in the pulpit.
Here’s the full documentary “Missionaries Of Hate”

E Lynn Harris – The Passing Of A Brilliant Author

E Lynn HarrisI was very troubled to hear about the passing of Mr. Harris. To me he was more than just an author. He helped me see that being an out gay black male was possible. The way I first discovered his writing was kind of serendipitous. I was a very unhappy closeted college freshman at East Carolina University. I’ve always had a passion for reading, and used books as a way to escape the reality of my inner-turmoil. I would go to Barnes and Nobel quite often to sip coffee and find new books to read. I was aware that they had a “Gay and Lesbian interest” book section, but I was so deeply closeted that I couldn’t even walk towards that isle (even though I wanted to very badly). During one of my days there, I walked around a bit, and found a couple of books that looked interesting. I went to purchase my coffee, and found a comfortable chair to sit in while I went through my books to see which ones I wanted to buy. I sat my things on the coffee table in front of me, and I noticed an interesting looking book lying there on the table that someone had left for the employees to re-shelve. I picked it up and read the title “Invisible Life”. That really peaked my interest because I felt as though I were living a kid of invisible life. I started to read and it drew me in instantly. When I noticed that they were about to close the store, I had already went through half of the book. As soon as I got home, I couldn’t sleep. All I could think about were the characters and how much I could relate to things that they were going through. I knew I had a morning class at 8am, and I’d feel like hell if I didn’t get any sleep, but I didn’t care. I got back up, and finished the book just as the sun was rising. It was the first time in my life that I watched the sun rise, and really felt as though it was a new day. Over the next couple of days, I read the book again until I could get another chance to hit Barnes and Nobel and search for another one of his books titled “Abide With Me”. In those few short days, my world felt as though it had transformed. I thought being gay was a curse bestowed upon me, and I was destined to live my life in lonely solitude, but E. Lynn’s book gave me hope. It help me see that I could be happy. I could find love. I could be the person God made me. All of that never occurred to me before. This time when I walked into the book store, I headed directly to the “Gay and Lesbian Interest” section. The store was very busy with people, and I didn’t care at all. Just three days before, I couldn’t fathom going down that asile and taking my time looking for a book. So for me, Mr. Harris was not just an author of gay fiction. This man and his books completely changed my life… and changed it for the better. Before I read that first novel, it had never occurred to me that I could have a healthy loving relationship. Without his books, I would of never met Brook (my ex). My five year relationship with him was the happiest I’ve been in my whole adult life. Whoever I was before that trip to Barnes and Nobel, I don’t know who that is anymore. It’s like looking back at someone else’s life. When I heard the news on CNN about the death of E. Lynn Harris, it really sadden me. I wanted to meet him, and tell him my story of how he helped me, and how he changed my life. I just wanted to thank him, and now it’s to late. My only solace and hope is that he passed knowing about how many lives he’s touched and how much his work has helped me and millions of people just like me. For this, I am forever grateful.

R I P Mr. E. Lynn Harris

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