Wayne’s column this week responded to the coming out of Mizzou’s Michael Sam, the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year, explaining that the only thing that could possibly keep Sam from being drafted into the NFL at this point is bigotry. As is always predictable with these sorts of things, certain people start making comments about locker room solidarity and expressing worries about what it would be like if they had to change in front of a gay man. Frank Bruni also responded in the New York Times, with a newsflash for straight men expressing those worries:
A news flash for every straight man out there: You’ve been naked in front of a gay man.
In fact you’ve been naked, over the course of your life, in front of many gay men, at least if you have more than a few years on you. And here you are — uninjured, uncorrupted, intact. The earth still spins. The sun rises and sets.
Maybe it was in gym class, long ago. Maybe at the health club more recently. Or maybe when you played sports at the high school level, the college level, later on. Whether we gay guys are one in 10 or one in 25, it’s a matter of chance: At some point, one of us was within eyeshot when you stripped down.
And you know what? He probably wasn’t checking you out. He certainly wasn’t beaming special gay-conversion gamma rays at you. That’s why you weren’t aware of his presence and didn’t immediately go out and buy a more expensive moisturizer and a disc of Judy Garland’s greatest hits. His purpose mirrored yours. He was changing clothes and showering. It’s a locker room, for heaven’s sake. Not last call at the Rawhide.
Indeed. When Jonathan Vilma of the Saints expressed similar anxiety, he made the mistake that so many straight men have over the years, of assuming that any gay person in their immediate vicinity is automatically going to be attracted them. That’s simply not the way it is.