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John Amaechi says gay sports stars shouldn’t come out too soon

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  1. ChutneyBear 16 Jul 2010, 11:12am

    Well to be honest coming out has nothing to do with sport. If they feel comfortable I would say go ahead, if not , sure its one elses business.

  2. “John Amaechi has said that gay sportsmen and women should not rush to come out if they do not feel ready.”

    Indeed.

    The same as for anyone.

    I am sure John Amechi accepts however that if a closeted gay sportstar has an active sex life then the same rules regarding ‘Kiss and tells’ in the tabloids should apply to gay and straight stars.

    If it is acceptable for a lapdancing female to run to the News of the World to sell her tale of seducing a premiership footballer, then equally it should be acceptable for the male lover of a closetted footballer to do the same. It is not the job of newspapers to protect people’s closets after all.

    Equal rights mean equal responsibilities and all that.

    Personally I believe that after a certain age, there is no real excuse for being in the closet. Once someone is a financially secure, independent adult then it is self interest that keeps them in the closet. This is not just for sportspeople or public figures. I thihk it applies to everyone.

    I’m not judging them for their self interest. That’s their business and fully understandable.

    But at the same time it bothers me to see these people’s opinions on the closet being taken so seriously.

    Amechi remained in the closet until after his career ended. Gareth Thomas and Donal Og Cusack and Martina Navratilova came out while they were still actively involved in sports. I respect their opinions on this subject far more than Ameche’s.

  3. ChutneyBear 16 Jul 2010, 11:50am

    “Personally I believe that after a certain age, there is no real excuse for being in the closet. Once someone is a financially secure, independent adult then it is self interest that keeps them in the closet. This is not just for sportspeople or public figures. I thihk it applies to everyone.”

    Not a lot of people want to scream from the rooftops. Why dont straight people scream they are straight and come out as straight at a certain age? Personally myself I believe its nobodies business what way I swing, live and let live….

  4. Being a “financially secure, independent adult” doesn’t mean you are immune from homophobia and violence!

  5. Festering Stump 16 Jul 2010, 12:35pm

    “If it is acceptable for a lapdancing female to run to the News of the World to sell her tale of seducing a premiership footballer, then equally it should be acceptable for the male lover of a closetted footballer to do the same.”

    There is nothing particularly laudable about those who sell their stories, pandering to the prurient interest in people’s sex lives. Nor in those who encourage it by rushing out to buy the latest gossip.
    However there is a big difference between some lapdancer saying how good someone is in bed or whatever and outing a person for profit. In the case of the straight celebrity there won’t be any real negative fall-out unless they cheat on a spouse, rape or otherwise outrage public sentiment. In the case of a gay sports-person that still isn’t the case. There is still a huge double standard.
    And I hope that day is far away that tabloids become the arbiters of what is morally acceptable. Let’s face it. They are bottom-feeders. Personally I’ve never bought this crap about how people who make their living as pop stars or football players forfeit their right to privacy. Often tabloids are immoral in how they go about their business, just not criminally so.

  6. Mihangel apYrs 16 Jul 2010, 1:26pm

    ChutneyBear: straights scream their sexuality continuously (talking about family, men ogling women, women gossiping about men), holding hands, kissing, etc, etc.

    What coming out involves is not necessarily screaming “I’m gay, stop oppressing me!” but saying “my boyf and I did…”

    Normalising homosexuality (and the others) has to be the ultimate social aim where assumptions aren’t made and the declaration isn’t a coming out but a statement of fact, in the same way as “I don’t drink” is a fact

  7. no, I would rather be OUT, thanks this guy can’t speak for all of us in sports, basketball is not all “sports”.

  8. “However there is a big difference between some lapdancer saying how good someone is in bed or whatever and outing a person for profit.”

    No there isn’t.

    The lapdancer is selling her story for money in the ame way as the go-go boy is.

  9. “Gay former basketball star John Amaechi has said that gay sportsmen and women should not rush to come out…” Hah! As IF!! Successful sportspeople certainly aren’t backward at coming forward when it comes to being adored by their public, picking up medals and signing lucrative sponsorship kickback, sorry contracts.

  10. “Being a “financially secure, independent adult” doesn’t mean you are immune from homophobia and violence!”

    But I never said that it did though.

    Being a financially secure indepedent adult means that you will not be thrown out on the streets for being gay, that you have the cash and resources to insure that you will maintain a reasonable standard of living and safety, even though you are out of the closet.

    Like professional sportspeople. Most Premiership footballers earn more in a week than average people earn in a year. There is zero financial consequence for them to come out. Except that they may only earn £120,000 a week, whereas they might get £140,000 a week if they stayed closeted.

    Being a heterosexual female doesn’t mean you are immune from sexism or violence. Women don’t have the choice to keep their gender hidden.

    That is what annoys me about people who remain in the closet.

    Racism and sexism are facts of life for many people. Black people and Asian people and women do not have the ‘luxury’ of lying about their race or gender.

    Whereas gay people seem to think that because we can blend that we have a ‘right’ to remain closeted, yet at the same time they want the ‘right’ to be treated equally.

    In an ideal world this would be possible. But while closeted people keep making excuses for not revealing their dirty, shameful secret ie their homosexuality, then they can kiss goodbye to ever being treated equally.

  11. StephenC: “But while closeted people keep making excuses for not revealing their dirty, shameful secret ie their homosexuality, then they can kiss goodbye to ever being treated equally.”

    I think that statement is grossly unfair. Some people are in a situation where they can be open and honest, whereas others cannot. Your claim is that only those that are fortunate enough to be able to be themselves should benefit from any gay rights objectives. I would have said it is the out gays that have to fight for the ones that cannot. Hopefully then, as people become more tolerant of the situation, we may one day see the whole concept of “being in the closet” as a laughable thing of the past.

    It’s taken this country over 40 years to get this far, but people do adapt, and it will probably take even longer for homosexuality to be truly socially acceptable, but these things are a slow process.

  12. Phoenix0879 16 Jul 2010, 4:34pm

    StephenC: Personally I believe that after a certain age, there is no real excuse for being in the closet. Once someone is a financially secure, independent adult then it is self interest that keeps them in the closet. This is not just for sportspeople or public figures. I thihk it applies to everyone.

    Or maybe they’re not comfortable coming out yet? Not everyone is ready to come out at 16 or 18 or 21 or whatever. Some people can take decades to become comfortable enough with their own sexuality to be able to come out – and so long as they harm no one, it is no one’s place to out them. If they are single, then I would question anyone planning a kiss n tell (if they’re in a relationship, that’s different). Put simply, if they’re in the closet and not slagging about, then it’s their business and no one elses. Who are we to decide the right time for someone else to come out?

  13. I don’t believe in ‘waiting until you are ready’. Comfort zones don’t grow by themselves, you have to drag them kicking and screaming through your fears to become comfortable with anything. If doing something seems scary (as long as it isn’t physically life-threatening, like jumping into a piranha-infested lake), that’s all the more reason to do it – and you’ll learn and grow as an individual as a result, whether your endeavour is a success or a failure

  14. I think he should encourage people to be brave and come out, not to stay in the closet. It’s a very negative message, we need more sports stars coming out and telling people that there’s nothing wrong about being gay, staying in the closet only can do harm and doesn’t help anybody.

  15. Spanner: No 11: you say “as people become more tolerant of the situation, we may one day see the whole concept of “being in the closet” as a laughable thing of the past.”

    I think we are already at that point.

    Personally I think that for most people (young people excluded) we are already at the point where being in the closet is a thing of the past.

  16. SimonM: Try telling that to offspring of Muslim or Christian parents. Or fat-headed Essex men, military types or Conservative blue-rinse women. I was 31 when I came out, and at nearly 50, my parents still don’t know. It would make my life easier, but it would crucify them, so sometimes ignorance is bliss.

  17. Deeside Will 18 Jul 2010, 7:15pm

    Spanner, you say that you’re nearly fifty, that your parents still don’t know that you’re gay, and that it would crucify them if they knew. I wouldn’t dream of trying to tell anyone else what to do, but there are a few things that you might like to consider.

    Are you sure that it would crucify them if they knew? Are you sure that they don’t already suspect it by now? As someone put it, parents are usually the first to suspect but the last to know.

    If they don’t already suspect, and if they do nevertheless somehow find out, they are likely to be far more cruelly crucified because you hadn’t felt able to tell them yourself. You may feel certain that they’ll never know, but I’ve known others who’ve thought that and who have been proved wrong.

    If you never tell them, and if they never find out, there may well come a time when you wish that you’d told them. But it will be too late by then; they’ll be gone.

  18. Deeside Will: I think coming out is essentially a selfish act. Like I said, it would make my life a lot easier, but frankly, why tell them? If they were that concerned, they would ask. I always said if anyone were to ask if I was gay, I would never lie because they must have a good idea already. Virtually everyone that knows me knows, but sometimes ‘Dont ask, dont tell’ is a better option. My parents have enough problems of their own without me dropping another one on them. And yes, it IS a problem, as they perceive it.

  19. “I think coming out is essentially a selfish act.”

    If it wasn’t for religion there wouldn’t be any ‘coming out’, we’d be free to be who we are without feeling the need to question it or being questioned about it because it would just be the norm.

    Don’t quite understand how being true to yourself is a ‘selfish act’ though. Parents aside, I respect thats your choice, it actually sounds like you have issues about being gay yourself you may need to address. (Kind of explains a lot!!)

    You cant expect others to respect you if you don’t respect yourself!

  20. “at nearly 50, my parents still don’t know. It would make my life easier, but it would crucify them”

    Why do you have that opinion of your parents?

    How do you know what their reaction would be? You may be underestimating them?

    And even if they react with horror and disapproval, then why is their approval still necessary for you? You’re 51, not 21.

    Assuming you don’t have a wife and children, I think the fact that their middle-aged, unmarried son being gay won’t be a huge shock to them.

    As for the notion that coming out is a selfish act? Personally I think it is a declaration of honesty.

    If being honest is selfish, then are you claiming that being dishonest about your homosexuality is a selfless act of kindness towards your parents?

    I hope not as that would indicate that you have some issues.

    As for John Amechi – well he’s entitled to his opinion. But the fact that he never came out when he was a sportsperson (unlike Gareth Thomas; Donal Og Cusack; Martina Navratilova; Amelie Mauresmo etc) means his opinions on this subject are automatically skewed.

    How would he know whether or not coming out is a bad thing for a person? He waited until his career was well over before he came out. He knows nothing about coming out at the height of his career.

    I would respect Thomas’ or Cusack’s or Navratilova’s opinion on this far more than I would respect Amechi’s.

  21. Squidgy: “If it wasn’t for religion there wouldn’t be any ‘coming out'”
    Absolute bollocks. I know many homophobic people that don’t have a religious bone in their body. May people simply just can’t come to terms with it. No matter how much explaining and education you give them, they will NEVER change. It’s time people got used to that fact. Bigotry is a natural human trait, and you will no more eliminate it as you will try to turn gay men straight.

    I have absolutely NO problem with being gay, or anyone knowing about me, but I do have a love, care and respect for my parents.
    ‘Coming out’ is selfish because it essentially doesn’t concern anyone else, but it can have an effect on people. I agree that in most cases the response is always better than one expects, but equally I know some horror stories where it’s all gone horribly wrong. One has to weigh up the situation in each case. I believe telling my parents would only ultimately benefit me.

    StephenC: Are you seriously telling me that after nearly fifty years I don’t know the couple that brought me into this world and raised me for half their lives? Don’t fcuking patronise me.
    Not telling someone is NOT lying. I have NEVER lied about my sexuality, but they have never asked me, so I don’t reply.
    Incidentally, my sister is 40+, lives with my parents and hasn’t had a partner her entire life. I can assure you she isn’t a lesbian though, and my parents have never questioned her either.

    So I come out to my parents and then waltz off home to my partner and have a great time, meanwhile my elderly parents sit in silence and maybe tears wondering “where they went wrong”.
    You tell me who is being selfish? If omitting the truth
    means the remains of their lives are happy ones, then that’s the way it should stay.

  22. “Are you seriously telling me that after nearly fifty years I don’t know the couple that brought me into this world and raised me for half their lives?”

    Well it’s clearly a distinct possibility unless you’re not telling to whole reason why you are still closeted to them.

    Firstly let me say that whether you come out to them or not is your own business and is entirely irrelevant to me as it doesn’t affect my life at all. However you are the person who raised the subject of your closeted status so bear that in mind before losing your temper.

    You’re making the automatic assumption that your parents will have a big problem with your sexuality.

    Based on what – are they religious? Are they obviously homophobic?

    If they are religious or homophobic then why is having a relationship with them so important to you. If they hate you for your sexuality then why is their approval necessary for you?

    If they are not religious or obviously homophobic then why do you appear to respect them so little to assume that they won’t be able to cope with your secret?

    I know they are your parents but if they have a problem with your life then it’s unfathomable to me why you allow yourself to be controlled by them like this, when you are 51.

    You are 51 – you clearly do not rely on them for financial security. And you’re certainly old enough that you should be able to cope emotionally with them having a problem with your sexuality. Your reasons for being in the closet sound like they come from somebody far younger than you.

    It seems to me that you’ve convinced yourself that staying in the closet is best for everyone? Well living a lie or living a life of half truth clearly isn’t in your best interest. And you’ve given no obvious reason why lying to your parents is in their best interest other than the fact that they are old.

  23. Deeside Will 19 Jul 2010, 2:46pm

    Spanner: No-one is suggesting that after nearly fifty years you don’t know the couple that brought you into this world and raised you for half their lives. But one thing you don’t know, and that is what their reaction would be if you came out to them, because you haven’t tried it. It may indeed be that you are underestimating them, just as I eventually found that I’d underestimated mine.

    If it’s selfish to want to lead your life as the person you are without having to engage in pretences, then you presumably feel that it’s a form of selfishness that is legitimate for straights but not for gays.

  24. @ Spanner

    I think you’ll find that religious or not, the bigotry towards the LGBT community comes firmly based from centuries of religion telling people it is wrong.

  25. StephenC: I am openly gay to everyone that knows me except for two people. I hardly call that “in the closet”.
    They are neither religious nor actaully homophobic. My Dad was in the Navy for 20 years, so he’s been around enough to know it.
    It is more that they are just of a different era when it simply wasn’t socially acceptable, and they are far too old and stuck in their ways to change, even for me. My question to you is, the status quo is fine as it is. If it aint broke, why fix it?

    Deeside Will: There are no pretences. They have never asked, and I have never lied. I guess they probably suspect, but they choose not to ask, for fear they might get an answer they didn’t want to hear.

  26. Squidgy: Religion only reflects the real world. Even the churches begrudgingly have to move with the times, or they find themselves losing congregations. 200 years ago, virtually everyone was homophobic. So were they all bad people? of course not. It is simply that was what was socially acceptable. In Ancient Greece, it was totally acceptable to bugger young boys, but nowadays it is not. It is simply what was done. Hopefully we now live in more enlightened times and people are slowly adapting to truly civilised societies. Unfortunately, the memes will still carry such things as religion onwards, so I doubt that will ever fizzle out.

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