Recently, Maggie Gallagher, one of the most vocal proponents of the anti-equality movement, gave up fighting the Purple Menace, Arkansas became the first southern state in the nation to figure out that equality actually means equality for all people, and that includes LGBT people, and Michael Sam, in what is arguably the most important recent development in our march towards equality if for no other reason than the stereotype shattering symbolism, broke through that purple ceiling by becoming the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL.
We are winning. And nothing could make this fact plainer than the image of Sam stepping up as Gallagher steps down.
If I may be so presumptuous, I’m going to explain why our opponents are losing. There is one small detail that they routinely overlook. They miss it time and time again. It’s in their demeanor. It’s in their rhetoric. It’s embedded in their entire “argument,” their line of reasoning. And it is this: they think gay people are new. It is their first, last and most fatal mistake.
We are here now, and WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HERE. WE ARE EVERYWHERE.
In what was apparently a controversial move, ESPN ran live footage of Michael Sam celebrating the news of his ascension to the pros by kissing his boyfriend. Oh my is that getting a lot of attention. Good! May all the little gay boys see that giant man embrace his boyfriend in celebration. May all the little straight boys see that giant man embrace his boyfriend in celebration. May the entire world see that giant man embrace his boyfriend in celebration. Because we have been embracing our boyfriends in celebration for a very, very long time now. It is not new. What is new is that we now refuse to be complicit in our own silencing ~ in our own invisibility. You think Michael Sam is the first NFL player to kiss his boyfriend in celebration? Bullshit. He’s simply ~ and not-so-simply ~ the first one to say, “Fuck that! There is nothing wrong with me or my love. I refuse to exist in an airless, deadly space composed of fear and paranoia.” What is different is that less and less do we internalize shame. Less and less do we accept the “fact” that our loves are less than. What is different is that we reject the notion that our lives are in any way inappropriate, dirty, immoral, disgusting, unnatural or whatever other words our opponents hurl at us. What is different is that WE ARE NO LONGER WILLING TO GHOSTWRITE THE FICTION OF OUR NONEXISTENCE. We have always been here. What is different is that WE WILL NOW BE KISSING OUR BOYFRIENDS ON LIVE TV.
When I saw Michael Sam engulf his boyfriend in celebration, I cried. The five year old in me cried, because he thought he was alone and sick and would live a life of desolation and despair. And the five year old in me cried because we are moving towards a world where no five year old will have to go through that.
Good riddance to you, Maggie Gallagher. May your blog post be the squeal of the last dinosaur as it gasps its last desperate, painful breath. May it be the sound of the Wicked Witch of the West who, having been cleansed by water, screams “What a world. What a world” as she melts into nothingness. And may Michael Sam’s kiss be the kiss heard ‘round the world.
Congrats Michael Sam! I do sincerely hope that your gay brothers already playing in the NFL man up and make your life a little easier by showing the world that while you may be the first to say he’s gay, you are not by any stretch the first. I hope they won’t leave you alone out there. Clearly, you’re strong enough to do it, but I hope they don’t make you.