I received my Sports Illustrated this week and on the front cover was a picture of NBA basketball player Jason Collins and the big bold words Jason Comes Out in the article itself. Jason announced to the world that he is attracted to same-sex sexual relationships. He said it was time to stop hiding in the proverbial closet, come out, and "live truthfully." Good for Jason. He is being honest about his desires to have sexual relations with men.
Some might say, "No, he is only speaking about his sexualorientation. He is attracted to men." I respond, "Attracted in what sense?" Many of us (men) are attracted to other men in friendship, and attracted to men in relationship, and attracted to men in companionship. Jason is coming out and declaring his attraction to having sex with men–or possibly a man–and he is being honest about it. Again, good for him. Jason says, "greater openness and honesty promotes increased understanding, respect and acceptance." I agree Jason.
For example, I have a friend who is sexually attracted to exposing himself to women. He hid his desires–and behavior–for many, many years. When he finally came out of the closet with his wife, family and friends (including me), we began to understand him better. My friend will tell you he has never been loved and accepted by anyone the way he was when I went down to the police station and hugged him and told him I loved him and was there for him. I walked with him through the hurtful process of coming out of the closet and confessing to his sexual attraction to seeing the looks on women's faces when he exposed himself. I stood with him when the police mocked him. I stood with him when the judge sentenced him. Many people were disgusted with him because of his sexual orientation and his sexual actions. Not me. I accepted him, appreciated his honesty, and stood by him. His honesty with me helped me understand why he was attracted to exposing himself to women. I agree with Jason Collins: "Greater openness and honesty promotes understanding, respect and acceptance" — at least with me.
I have another couple of friends who are sexually attracted to women who are not their wives, and on more than one occasion have acted out on those attractions. I would consider them two of my best friends. When they came out of the closet many years ago regarding their sexual orientations, I stood beside them, respected them and accepted them. Both confess to others that I helped save their lives, and both confess that their sexual orientations have not changed, only that they are beginning to understand the beauty of having sex with the person to whom God has given to them in the covenant of marriage. In one case, a marriage was saved; in another, a marriage was not. My love for both men is present even when some in their own families turned against them. Again, I agree with Jason Collins: "Greater openness and honesty promotes understanding, respect and acceptance."
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