Yesterday, Jason Collins decided to come forward with an announcement that he was gay. I was real happy for him and I made sure to let him finish but when you hear an announcement like that, you always have to stop and think for a second. I reviewed my timeline on Twitter and my newsfeed on Facebook and my first reaction was, “Tons of supporters, but I know some of you offline and I know for a fact you’re only saying that, you don’t mean it.” I made a tweet and said,

“Woman are so supportive of a man coming out of the closet until it’s their boyfriend/husband.”

Because in reality, that’s never going to go over as well as man who is not sleeping with you.

In my conversations with women about relationships in DC, Atlanta and NYC, they always express a fear that the men they’re dating might (perhaps) be on the low. The Census Bureau estimates that Black men have the highest percentage of gay men at 4.6%. However, when you talk to Black women living in these popular cities, they will estimate that it’s about 1 in 4 men who are openly gay or “on the low.” You don’t have to delve much further into the conversation to find out that when asked, “If you found out that the guy you were dating was gay, what would you do?” Almost all of them will say, “I’d immediately go get tested.” While most women will do that regardless of if they found out that their partner was “on the low” or cheating on them with another woman, there’s one interesting thing about that question.

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I never said that he cheated on her, I only asked what she would do if she found out he was gay.

The answer was resounding, a few that they may have been exposed to an STD. Ironically, when most women are asked what they would do when they found out their partner was cheating on them with another woman, they usually say something like, and “I would break the windows out his car.” First reaction – anger, not fear. People should never be rushed out of the closet, they should come out when they get good and ready, it’s their life not ours. However, for most women they’d prefer the men they date did it as soon as possible. Instead of thanking him for his honesty and supporting him, they’re upset and in fear.

Men aren’t innocent in this conversation either. Many of the men who would come out and tweet in support of a man coming out of the closet are actually just as full of it as anyone else. I spoke to a chapter brother of mine yesterday and I said, “It bothers me because I see some of our frat brothers tweeting in support of Jason Collins, but I know for a fact that’s only cool to them because they aren’t close to him. They support gay marriage and homosexuality but wouldn’t like it if there was a gay brother in their chapter.” I’d rather they just be honest or be quiet.

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When men find out their friends or family members are gay while they may support them, their relationship changes. Common excuses are, “Well, I didn’t feel like we had that much in common anymore. We usually bonded over partying and chicks and that just seemed different now” or “I support his life decisions, but I don’t really agree with that for myself.”

That brings me to my next point, Chris Broussard while I don’t agree with him, is completely entitled to his belief that homosexuality is wrong.

Listen, we can’t ask Chris to jeopardize his faith and salvation because we feel differently. It’s perfectly okay for someone to not see homosexuality as a sin, and it’s perfectly okay for someone to view it as a sin. As the years go by we have to be careful that just because the court of public opinion makes a decision that something is acceptable, people shouldn’t asked to sacrifice their faith.

But when we start to attack people who have different views from us, we’re doing exactly what we don’t like done to us. We’re judging someone based on their religion, faith and beliefs. We wouldn’t like it if someone did that to us about our choice of lifestyle. I always like to remember that faith is a personal relationship with God. Which is why LZ Granderson is completely within his rights to vehemently disagree with Chris, but they remain friends. Also, when people are attacked for differing opinions, that’s when they hide their true feelings. Publicly they’re supporters of homosexuality and gay marriage, but privately they don’t condone it and don’t think it should happen.

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We’re able to support Jason Collins because I’m pretty sure none of us are dating him or sleeping with someone who may have slept with him. However, as we move forward as a society we’re facing the possibility that our children and close love ones will be gay. Our world is changing and that will be the true test. Not when a professional basketball player makes a decision to come out as being openly gay, it’ll be when it’s in our own homes and personal circles.

Maybe if we get to a point where we can learn to not only tolerate, but embrace, we’ll be a better society.

Comments like, “I don’t care about who the people I’m not sleeping with are sleeping with” are signs of tolerance. Rather than, “I’m happy that Jason has found love and passion in his life” which is a sign of embracing change. When someone comes out of the closet (as if one truly ever exists) and we stop saying, “Good for him” and start saying “Good for us” we’ll know that we’ve arrived in the 21st Century. We’ll know that the continuity of our society is intact and that we can continue to prosper as a world.

Dr. J