University of Missouri and All-American football player Michael Sam recently announced that he is “an openly, proud gay man.” Hats off to Michael Sam as it takes guts to do what he did not only in the so-called manly world of football but in what continues to be a homophobic America. In regard to football, some surmise that Sam’s disclosure will dampen his prospects during the upcoming professional football draft. If so, what a sad statement that would be for professional sports in America. In any case, there continues to be a harsh atmosphere in America for our LGBT brothers and sisters to live their lives as they choose.
A recent high-profile example of such homophobia is the ongoing decision by the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers to ban LGBT groups from marching in the parade openly. A group of LGBT veterans wanted to march carrying their banner, a rainbow flag, identifying them as LGBT. Kara Coredini, the Executive Director of MassEquality, a Massachusetts gay rights advocacy organization, reported that no other group was asked to march without an identifying banner. The police, firefighters and those proclaiming to be Irish marched with identifying banners. Encouragingly, Boston Mayor Walsh did not march in the parade in support of the LGBT veteran’s group.
Another high-profile example of homophobia is the recent proclamation by Phil Robertson, the Duck Dynasty patriarch, who believes that homosexuality is a sin similar to that of bestiality. As a Christian I understand where he is coming from, but we on earth, are not to judge others we are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We may not like what others do but let God do the judging. Being a high-profile television celebrity tends to influence the easily influenced and perpetuates homophobia.
Homophobia is serious in America but absolutely devastating in other countries. Michael Sam would most likely have been condemned to life in prison in Uganda. The parliament in Uganda recently passed the, Anti-Homosexuality Bill also called the Kill the gays bill because initially Uganda wanted to execute people for being gay. Uganda has since modified the original 2009 bill which included a death penalty provision due to a global outcry.
It really is time for all of us to check ourselves and rethink what direction we want America to go in terms of the life our LGBT brothers and sisters live. They should not feel the need to make a pronouncement about their style of life or be subjected to a double standard in parades or anywhere else in America. Put in simple psychological terms, the style of life for LGBT’s should become a social norm in America. Nothing short is socially acceptable.