When Rick Welts came out, he did a number of things: He made an appeal for tolerance, issued a political declaration and gave young gay people who want a career in sports a potential mentor and inspiration.
Most of all, Welts made a quality-of-life decision.
That's really what this process ultimately is for gay folks (for me, at least) -- an opportunity to claim the privileges everyone else enjoys, those little moments in life most take for granted: The ability to say without hesitation, "Yeah, my boyfriend and I just saw that" when someone recommends a movie. The pleasure of proudly introducing the most important person in your world to your co-workers. The capacity to be at ease with every corner of your life -- friends, family, job, school, place of worship, sports, passions -- and feel like the whole enterprise is unified.
And he states that sports is not so different from other fields where openly gay men and women are no longer an issue:
Why is big-time sports so behind? There are several causes ranging from the culture of sports to education that we can address, but there's also another that isn't discussed all that much:
The small citizenry of gay people in the sports world has been pretty slow to pipe up. Whether we're players, coaches, executives, media relations staffers, agents, broadcasters, writers or editors, those of us scattered around the game simply are not doing a very good job of leading on this issue.
What does "leading on this issue" mean? Not an easy question to answer, but here's an attempt: Leading means engaging people in the sports world the way people do in other industries.
Individuals aren't any more or less accepting at the law firm, the restaurant, the software company, the teachers' lounge or the place you happen to be employed. At some point, there was a collective decision made by everyone at work that co-workers shouldn't be made to feel weird about who they were. And if you trace the history of tolerance on this issue at any workplace in America, you'll probably find an out gay person at the pivotal moment.
Read the full post HERE.