Gay headlines and the choice argument

Even though I have been on this earth for 24 years I’ve seen a lot of things, contributed to a lot of things, and have even fumed at a lot of people on the internet who refuse to use their cranium.

Since I’m on twitter, that means a lot of people send me stuff that they want me to comment on and or write about. While I can’t tackle every single piece of news or give my own two cents on every headline floating around in cyberspace, there are many things and many stories that I feel really strongly about… why? Because I’ve had time to sit down and mull over it. I don’t have to be thinking about a headline of my own.

Michael Sam. If that name doesn’t mean anything to you, its okay, it didn’t mean anything to me either until my twitter followers explained that he’s a part of a football team, in the NFL. It’s a wonder how I know Michael Jordon is a basketball player since sports isn’t in my life at all.

I don’t know what team he plays for at the moment, but that is not going to be the point of this commentary so I don’t care if I leave it out or keep it in. if you just do this neat thing with google you will know what team he plays for.

What is getting my brain rattling in its cage are the headlines that I’m seeing, in 2014 no less. Famous newspapers like the New York Times and such are all reporting basically the same headlines, or, if not the same headlines, then without fail, the focus of the story appears to always be the same surface story.

Michael Sam is gay.

I’ve been seeing that as a headline in a lot of places and it’s disturbing to me in this sense.

A headline tells the reader what the story will be about. A headline defines the subtitle and also what the news story will be about. If you’re a seasoned journalist or newsreader, you can even predict some of the quotes that they will have in the article because you’ll know what kind of questions the reporters asked their subjects. Yes, a headline spells all that out.

I’ve read a few news stories, and they all seemed to focus on the notion that this NFL player had come out of the closet. The reporting focused on the gayness of Michael, rather than the issues faced by Michael as a gay man. This is kind of a waste of words to me, and here’s why I believe that.

On the one hand, I understand the struggle of coming out in a community full of idiots who are just so filled with hatred that they are blind. I understand the significance between the fact that someone people admire have, suddenly, come out of the closet and this puts gay haters in check when they realize that their favorite player is “one of them faggots.”

While I definitely understand the good behind the headlines, again, the stories that are being printed are a waste of space, let alone word count. Always, not sometimes, but always, reporters ask the very same questions of any gay person coming out to the press. Perhaps it’s because I’m gay and I’ve met more gay people, including athletes, than they have, I get frustrated with their choice of quotes. They choose to quote the answers to the below common questions…

When did you realize you were gay?

Seriously? Every gay person you will ever meet is going to say they realized it when they were a kid or a teenager. Every single gay person is going to give variations on the same answer that they knew when they were young. Why in the hell is that response even quoted? That’s the same answer every other gay person has said.

Why were you in the closet?

They were in the closet because of fear and prejudice. People will say that in different ways but that’s the answer everybody will say overall.

This is possibly because I am, in fact, quite the homosexual, but I believe that we shouldn’t make headlines out of gay people coming out of the closet. Instead of asking these people when did they know they were gay, and quoting it, why don’t articles focus on the job discrimination angle, not why they were in the closet?

Why don’t reporters focus on the community life with straight people, rather than asking the person why they were in the closet? Trust me; gay people know when every gay person realized they were gay, and why they were in the closet and other mundane things like when they came out. Quoting that trite is just useless because it doesn’t point out any issues at all.

Instead of having to read something that’s common sense to other LGBT people why don’t news stories focus on the bigger pictures, such as the coaches and the employment sector, say, in the NFL now that Michael is gay. Why not ask them things that will show, rather than tell.

For example, ask gay celebrities what are some of the discriminative behaviors they have been victims to. I believe that will definitely be a bigger eye opener to straight people who read these articles rather than focusing on the gay part of the person.

A lot of straight people don’t understand anything about the LGBT world. they hear that someone is gay but they don’t hear the bigger picture… attitudes of employees, friends, and their point of view on discrimination, stuff like that.

I just think that headlines should be changed from “so and so is gay,” to, “discrimination, the after effect of so and so coming out.” I believe that’s the only way straight people will begin to stop believing the stereotypes or what they are told to believe.

I’d just like to add one more thing while I’m fired up. A lot of idiot straight people say that being gay or any sector of being LGBT was a choice. Let’s look into some things for just a minute.

According to all gay people, they knew they were gay at a very young age, or near pre-teen hood. Kids and teens don’t have fully developed brains yet. If people remembered anything from an anatomy class, the brain doesn’t stop growing until well into adulthood. Kids and teens don’t even know what, exactly; they want to be when they grow up. As they get older and learn their abilities and likes and other aspects, their career aspirations change. Multiple times, in fact. Right? Right.

Many people who are LGBT say they were that way from a young age, but someone, somewhere, will spew out the bullshit that it’s a choice.

Being gay isn’t a career that you can change from whim to whim. It’s an entire different kind of love interest and lifestyle. This applies to other LGBT people too. The LGBT community is a different love interest, entirely, and later on, a different set of laws and discrimination, but we’re looking at this from a teenager’s point of view now. Since being in the LGBT community has so many life altering assets, a teenager can’t make a big enough decision like that, let alone a 6-year-old kid or a kid in general unless their IQ is above 130. They’d never be able to stick with the complex facets and styles of living for years to come because kids and teens just can’t decide that far into the future yet. If being gay were a choice then it would be too complex.

A kid’s brain isn’t fully developed, so contemplating that kind of choice would be impossible for teenagers or young kids. The brain capacity just isn’t there to even make that kinda choice that will shape them for years. Seriously, how many cliques does high school have and how many people bounce around from one to the other? They haven’t even identified themselves yet. If the LGBT community were a choice than people would “realize” They were gay as adults because that’s when the brain makes choices to shape the personality. As I said, this can’t happen in kids, at all, so that’s why being LGBT is NOT a choice.


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Robert W Kingett

Robert Kingett is a gay blind journalist, and author, with many publications in magazines, anthologies, and blogs. He has judged many writing contests and has won many awards for his writings and advocacy.

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