Editor’s note: The views reflected in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of MSF in general or every member of the MSF team. This post, as with all posts on MSF, should be read as the views of just the author him or herself.
DC Comics made an announcement yesterday, as one of the more prominent characters, Green Lantern, was revealed to be gay in the new reboot of the DC universe.
It is the original Green Lantern character, as opposed to the one portrayed in the movie that starred Ryan Reynolds.
The First Major Gay Comic Character
Marvel introduced their first gay character, Northstar (who is getting married this month), in 1992, but Green Lantern was the first major character in any comic series to be outed. Having such a notable character be gay is something that shows the change in how being gay is perceived in our modern culture.
Being gay is something that someone should not be afraid to reveal, and that is being reflected by something as simple as a comic book. Prominent celebrities have come out as gay and their reputations have stayed exactly the same, and rightfully so.
What matters is the character of that person, or in the world of comics, the character. Every individual is entitled to their belief on the topic of gay marriage, but it is important to understand that individual rights are being discussed, not another random political problem.
This changing way of viewing gay individuals and gay marriage in pop culture can have a positive effect on those who still have not outed themselves as gay individuals.
Could a Prominent Gay Athlete Be Next?
In the world of sports, the topic of being gay has been more or less off limits. Though a recent report suggests that NFL players, by and large, would fully accept a gay teammate, there is still trepidation that rifts in the locker room or on the field could exist.
And, of course, when an active player does reveal himself to be gay, it will cause a media frenzy.
Rick Welts decided that it was time for a change when he outed himself last year. Welts is the president of the Phoenix Suns, and is well respected in the NBA.
While he is not a player, it was still a major step for someone of his stature to come out as gay.
The fact that the story around his situation died down quickly shows how it is not a big deal that he is gay, which is a great thing to see.
The next step will be for a player to come out as a gay individual.
This will be no easy feat.
It will certainly draw unwanted attention to themselves and their team, and it could even depend on what part of the country the player plays in. A city like San Francisco, with its large gay population and pro-gay political history, would seem like a natural fit. Other cities might be less open overall, to varying degrees.
The fan reaction to the player would also be interesting to see. The reaction could be a general ovation due to the bravery of the player, or a shunning of the player by certain swaths of fans. .
The NBA and NHL have already put out ads that advocate the equality of gay individuals, with the NHL advocating their “You Can Play” campaign. This stresses the fact that anyone who plays hockey should feel comfortable in the locker room and on the ice, no matter their sexual orientation.
The country will be divided on this issue for the foreseeable future, and it is unfortunate that gay individuals must hide their true selves from the world. However, the country as a whole is modernizing in their beliefs, which is evident by the fact that even comic books incorporate gay characters.
Sports will be one of the last “worlds” where gay individuals are not present, and it will take a strong individual to change that.
No matter what an individual believes, we must all support the one person who finally decides to make a difference and come out as gay in the sports world. This may happen this year or in twenty, but it will certainly be a landmark event in not only the world of sports, but in our society as a whole.