Michael Sam and the Alleged Ease of Being Gay

Bravo reality TV series are not an accurate representation of the real world.
When Michael Sam, a star linebacker at Missouri who will undoubtedly be drafted into the NFL in April, came out of the closet in an interview this week, it wasn't all that surprising that it created a stir or that there were those who thought he had no place in an NFL locker room. But, the reaction that was most striking was the one that read, "Of course he would come out now. Look at all the praise and publicity he'll get."

NBA journeyman Jason Collins announced he was gay last year. An image began circulating online that showed Collins on one side and Tim Tebow on the other. The text read: Bashed for Professing Jesus Christ (over the head of Tebow), Bashed for Professing Homosexuality (below the photo of Collins). It is a tired argument that conservative Christians drag out whenever they feel persecuted, a word that was once reserved for heinous conditions like slavery. Apparently, now, the mere suggestion that being Christian is uncool is en par with being thrown to the lions.

Maybe in popular culture, where the world often seems upside down, are gays lauded and held up for their bravery. This is the same world that interrupts important news to bring us a Justin Beiber update. It is not reality.

But, there are certainly plenty of celebrities who are gay and even politicians who are openly so. TV shows that depict gay men have been commonplace over the last 15 years or so, though most of them reduce them to cartoonish stereotypes. There have even been a few with lesbian characters, though to a lesser degree -- apparently gay men are more entertaining or something.

This, however, is also not reality. The popularization of the ideal of homosexuality runs counter to how it is treated in most of the rest of the country. Just as it is hard for the two coasts to understand the appeal of Jay Leno, he has been winning the ratings war for 20 years with his boring jokes and schtick-y banter. While we may not want to be divided into the simple red-state-blue-state ideology, it is often just the way it is.

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