Gay Primary Source

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bill Clinton on Jason Collins Coming Out

"I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea's classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned." President Bill Clinton, April 29, 2013.

NBA Commish on Jason Collins Coming Out

"As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family. Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue." National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern,
April 29, 2013.

Pro Basketballer Jason Collins Comes Out

I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.

I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.

My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgement began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.

Now I'm a free agent, literally and figuratively. I've reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.

Why am I coming out now? Well, I started thinking about this in 2011 during the NBA player lockout. I'm a creature of routine. When the regular season ends I immediately dedicate myself to getting game ready for the opener of the next campaign in the fall. But the lockout wreaked havoc on my habits and forced me to confront who I really am and what I really want. With the season delayed, I trained and worked out. But I lacked the distraction that basketball had always provided.

The first relative I came out to was my aunt Teri, a superior court judge in San Francisco. Her reaction surprised me. "I've known you were gay for years," she said. From that moment on I was comfortable in my own skin. In her presence I ignored my censor button for the first time. She gave me support. The relief I felt was a sweet release. Imagine you're in the oven, baking. Some of us know and accept our sexuality right away and some need more time to cook. I should know - I baked for 33 years.

When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.

I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston's 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I'm seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn't even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I'd been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, "Me, too."

The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn't wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? When I told Joe a few weeks ago that I was gay, he was grateful that I trusted him. He asked me to join him in 2013. We'll be marching on June 8...

Jason Collins, Washington Wizards, Sports Illustrated magazine, posted online April 29, 2013.

Click here to continue in Sports Illustrated, issue of May 6, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

France Passes Same-Sex Marriage Law

"Mesdames, Messieurs,

Le Parlement hier a adopté la loi ouvrant le mariage aux couples de même sexe. Cette réforme élargit les droits des homosexuels, sans rien enlever à personne.

Cette réforme va dans le sens de l’évolution de notre société. Je suis sûr qu’elle en sera fière, dans les prochains jours ou plus tard, parce que c’est une étape vers la modernisation de notre pays, vers plus de liberté, plus d’égalité – les principes qui fondent notre République.

Ce débat était long, parfois considéré comme trop long. Je ne le crois pas. Plusieurs mois étaient nécessaires pour entendre toutes les sensibilités. Elles sont respectables : elles méritaient donc d’être respectées.

En revanche, quand les passions dégénèrent en violence, elles doivent être condamnées. L’ordre républicain est d’abord le respect de la liberté de manifester, sûrement ; mais aussi de la liberté pour le Parlement de légiférer.

Aujourd’hui, je demande que ce qui vient de se produire au Parlement soit compris comme étant la loi de la République.

Le Conseil constitutionnel est saisi, il se prononcera sur la conformité du texte aux principes fondamentaux de notre République. Et aussitôt donnée cette décision par le Conseil, je promulguerai la loi qui sera la loi de la République.

D’ici là, je cherche et j’appelle chacun à chercher l’apaisement, c’est-à-dire la compréhension, le respect. Parce que tout maintenant doit être consacré à ce qui est l’essentiel : la réussite économique de notre pays et la cohésion nationale.

C’est donc une réforme qui devait être faite. Non pas simplement parce que c’était un engagement que j’avais pris devant les Français, mais parce que cela correspondait au mouvement irréversible de l’Histoire, que cela donne beaucoup de joie à beaucoup de nos concitoyens qui attendaient ce moment.

Cette réforme pourra, dans quelques jours, quelques semaines, devenir la loi de tous, la loi pour tous.

Mais aujourd’hui plus que jamais, le rassemblement du pays doit se faire sur ce qui est attendu par beaucoup de nos compatriotes : l’emploi, le redressement, la confiance.


Le président de la République Francois Hollande, April 24, 2013. Déclaration au sujet de l'adoption par le Parlement de la loi ouvrant le mariage aux couples de même sexe.

Click here to watch video of French President Francois Hollande