How “Why is this news?” is another form of suppression

We’re bias on this site. React to that as you will, but our bias is toward transgender issues, that’s what we’re going to be writing about the most.

I say this because my first post is about an issue that has blown up around someone I’ve never heard of, playing a sport I don’t care about, in a country that is not my own, and they are not transgender. Yet the internet-yelling that has swirled up around Jason Collins, an active NBA player, coming out as gay have made me question the why is this news? crowd.

Someone who is famous in any field, be it sports or a daytime TV presenter, who comes out as any part of the LGBTA spectrum gets one of three main responses:

  • I hate them now!
  • I support them now!
  • Why is this news?

Only one of those is positive. The latter, why is this news, has become the clarion call of those who want to hide and silence anyone in the LGBTA spectrum.

Kelly Dwyer wrote this good piece over on Yahoo, of all places, that tries to explain how bad why is this news attitude is. Go read it, then, carefully, go read the comments. I can’t blame you if you skip the comments, they are pretty nasty. Lots of people responding missed the point, these quotes are taken from the first four comments under that article:

  • The article is beyond ridiculous. Here’s a news flash, NOBODY CARES.
  • We need not apologize for desiring heterosexuality for our teens (or anyone else)
  • I think he should be free to live life the way he desires ‘ but I’m not force feeding my lifestyle to everyone in the country and neither should he..

As Kelley states,

“It’s not about influencing or showing off or pushing an agenda. It’s about letting conflicted, frustrated, bullied and potentially unhappy teenagers know that it gets better. So better. Please hang in there. It really will get better.

Jason Collins is living, screen-sliding, proof. This is news because we need it to be news. This is news because your children, or friends of your children, or children that your children know, or children that you might be coaching in a rec league, need to know that Jason Collins will become a productive player on a pro basketball team. While liking who he likes. While loving who he loves. Because conflicted teenagers need to know that it’s just fine for men to love other men. That while this stuff shouldn’t matter at all, in these early stages we should make “news” out of it.

This is news. This is wonderful, fabulous news. This is news, even if it will seem so damn silly some 20 years from now.”

So why is it ‘news’ when LGBTA stars come out? It’s news because it saves lives. It matters that people who are growing up, and adults, get to see others like them. That they don’t see themselves as alone, or inherently wrong. It matters because seeing someone else who is transgender, or bisexual, or lesbian or, as in Jason Collins’ case, gay can make all the difference. It helps people cope, deal with the abuse, the bullying, mocking, and, as is often the case, the rejection by family, friends and wider society. It shows, dare I say it, progress.

Eventually this won’t matter, as in the future many more LGBTA folks will feel safe enough to be out and in the media. LGBTA will be represented and people will know they are not alone, and not wrong.

Right now that’s not the case. So right now, why is this news? – because it helps others, because it saves lives, because it’s news.

Profile photo of Marcy Cook

Female geek, author and blogger. Non-cis, non-straight, non-single, non-asshat.

2 Responses to How “Why is this news?” is another form of suppression

  1. Thank you for posting this and making me aware of the article. I posted a positive response to it and would not have been able to if you had not brought my attention to it and where it was.

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