Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Michael Sam's Dad's Mixed Reaction to Gay News

Michael Sam's Dad's Mixed Reaction to Gay News

I've posted about this more than once this week and all you have to do is scroll down to find the posts they're so recent. Michael Sam, a football player with University of Missouri, came out this week and people are still talking about it. This time they are talking about the less than thrilled reaction Michael Sam's dad had when he discovered his son is gay through a text from Sam Jr. while he was eating at Denny's.

"I couldn't eat no more, so I went to Applebee's to have drinks," Sam Sr. told the newspaper. "I don't want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment."

Sam Sr. described himself as "old-school," saying the idea of a gay player in the NFL bothers him, but he told the newspaper that he loves his son and hopes he makes it into the NFL.

"As a black man, we have so many hurdles to cross. This is just one he has to cross," Sam Sr. told the Times.
Sam, an All-America defensive end, led the SEC with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss last season.

This sounds all too familiar to me because I have a gay nephew and he came out to me on Facebook in a private message a few years ago, and that message wasn't expected and it floored me for a moment. I had no idea. He was already on his way to med school in Iowa and in his mid-twenties doing a fellowship in St. Louis at Washington University. Evidently, having two openly gay uncles (my brother is gay) did nothing to help him come out sooner. It did nothing to relieve his anxiety. He went through the same angst and pain most younger gay men deal with before they actually decide to come out.

Of course I supported him immediately and told him I would not tell anyone else until he was ready. He told me he wanted to wait, but he just had to tell someone to get it "out." He said if he didn't he felt as if he might explode. Many gay men feel that way. A few days later I heard through my mom that my nephew phoned my sister and brother-in-law and he told them himself. And even though my sister and brother-in-law were shocked they didn't support him immediately. It took a while. It wasn't that they reacted poorly. They just reacted with shock and didn't know how to deal with it.

So I can see how Sam's dad would go through all kinds of mixed emotions. I went through them with my own nephew and I'm openly gay. The first thing I thought was how hard it's going to be for my nephew being gay in this world. The second thing I thought was just support him no matter what because he already knows how hard it is. I also think it's a little harder for some in the African American community. I dated men of African descent before I met Tony and they all faced the same issues, which was almost double the shame of being gay within their own communities. I'm not sure why the stigma still lingers so much in some places, but I think a lot has to do with the bible, religion, and strong ties to old ways that have been preached for hundreds of years.

I hope Sam Sr. comes to terms with this and learns from others that it's not the worst thing in the world and that he should be proud of his son for being so talented, so honest, and so willing to become and example for other gay men like him. That in itself makes a bold statement about the kind of man Michael Sam is. And even though Sam Sr. might not know it yet, he definitely did something right when he was raising his son.

You can read more here.

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