On Thursday, April 25 the University’s Gay-Straight Coalition promoted the nationally recognized organization’s Day of Silence. University students and supporters nationwide abstained from speaking for an entire day to condemn verbal violence against members of the LGBT community. Through this publication as well as noticeable t-shirts, the Day of Silence definitely received its fair share of publicity on campus.
Nationally, gay rights activism has gained progressive awareness and momentum. On Monday, Jason Collins, an active professional basketball player, made history by coming out as the first openly gay athlete currently playing in American professional sports. On Tuesday, Collins appeared on Good Morning America to discuss his announcement. Jason Collins will be remembered for a long time in professional sports, and not for his mediocre basketball skills. Talk show tours, corporate sponsorships, book deals and perhaps even a meeting with the President of the United States are likely to follow. Collins undoubtedly deserves the fanfare. His courage on such a public stage is destined to encourage other individuals to come out within their homes, schools and communities.
But what if someone doesn’t want the spotlight? How many Jason Collins’ does professional sports need for it to no longer be breaking news? Part of accepting people for who they are is not treating them differently than anyone else. Whether praise or criticism, any uncommon attention given to members of the LGBT community makes coming out an unnatural action. Heterosexual individuals never feel the need to announce their attraction to members of the opposite sex, because luckily, they will receive neither praise nor criticism based on their sexuality. For now, the praise is necessary to offset the insults. But as the latter decreases, the former must follow. Homosexuality is natural, the reaction toward it should be as well.