May 3, 2013

About 10 minutes after Jason Collins' coming-out essay in Sports Illustrated hit the internet, one thing became clear: No statement, however sincere, is sacred in the social age. Even an essay as heartfelt as Collins' — and heartfelt it is — has to endure the commentary, chatter, analysis, and white noise that are now integral to the way we experience national news. Some people, gay voices among them, found his essay to be "awkward" and "wishy-washy." Others have taken issue with his professed rejection of the "gay stereotype." To say nothing of the inane comments made by Chris Broussard and Howard Kurtz among others. Such chatter is to be expected, but there's one particular strain of comments that I've found especially noteworthy. More than a few people have questioned, chafed, and commented on Collins' decision to identify himself as a black gay man — rather than simply as a gay man. And that's where I step into the ring.