Just the other day the news hit the wire that NBA referee, Bill Kennedy, had announced that he is SGL (same gender loving). This announcement was sparked when Sacramento player Rajon Rondo made homophobic comments directed at Bill Kennedy. Bill evidently felt compelled to not remain silent. When I saw the article, while not a sports fan at all, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is powerful news”. Powerful because Bill is a black man participating in a very testosterone driving sport. It is very rare that we see a black man publicly announce that he is SGL. Because of this I chose to share it on my Facebook page. I tagged my cousin because she is a sports fan and has been an ardent supporter of me, an SGL man. For those that are not aware of the workings of Facebook let me inform you. Once you tag someone in your posts all of that person’s friends are made aware of the post and are able to view and comment on what was posted. I received a couple of comments to my post that contained comments from what I presume to be heterosexual men like “Why is this important? Do we need to know what people do in their bedroom…” and “This is unimportant". We don’t need to know or should not care about a person’s sexual preference. That is a private and personal matter.”
Upon reading these responses I began to get a little bothered because what some in the heterosexual community do not understand is they have “heterosexual privilege”. Simply put...“If you don’t have to think about it, it’s a privilege.” As a SGL man I have to encounter the outward expressions of heterosexual companionship daily. In everyday life I have to watch heterosexual intimacy from something as small as a warm embrace to a full out tongue acrobatics as I walk down the street. Not once do I say that heterosexual expression and acknowledgement of who they are as sexual being should remain private. How often do we read articles on the public heterosexual figures and their partner or spouse? Heterosexual expression is the norm. If someone was to ask either of the respondents to tone down his blackness or maleness I am sure an argument would ensue. Being who you are should not upset or offend anyone. What some heterosexuals fail to see is that we want that some freedom to live our lives as you do. You grew up with an accepted existence, however, most of us have not. However, we long for that comfort. In supporting us you lose nothing but the world gains immensely. A world where SGL boys are made to feel odd, strange or abnormal for what comes natural to them and as a result commit suicide or seek acceptance from those that are out to use, abuse or physically harm them. If Bill’s announcement has helped someone understand that being SGL is not a negative then he has made a true impact on the world.
The above noted comments are subtle but very visible suggestion that it would have been much better if Bill Kennedy would have just stayed in the closet. Stay in the closet so that I can feel comfortable because this knowledge now bothers me and I don’t like it. Unfortunately all too often when we as SGL men and women decide to live an authentic life fully we run the risk of losing important people in our lives (friends and family). The fact that Bill Kennedy took a very bold step to say to the world that he is a SGL man is a very big deal. It is so because we don’t see very many black men taking that step. Our communities of color send mixed signals often. On one hand you want us accept who we are and not live in the closet (aka downlow) but then when one of us choose to be authentic in who he/she is you say that is a private matter we don’t need to know that information. You have not made it easy for us. Sorry you don't get to have it both ways.
I am proud of Bill Kennedy for responding with an announcement. I believe his announcement was specifically for Rondo. Yeah, you called me a faggot motherfucker (just what I presume he said to Bill) and guess what, I AM. So what you said did not sting or hurt me it simply gave me strength and the push I needed to live in my truth authentically.