The Gay Jackie Robinson Will Apparently Be White
Adam Amel Rogers
Adam Amel Rogers is a Project Specialist at the Lear Center
For what seems like a lifetime, those who follow gay issues in sports have been addressing the same tiresome series of questions: "Is America ready for an openly gay athlete in one of the four major team sports?" "When will a current player finally come out?" "How will it impact the locker room?"
The list goes on.
While we wait patiently for a major athlete to come out and put these questions to rest, at least we can see our dreams (and at times, nightmares) play out in Hollywood.
Last week, Necessary Roughness (USA Network) became the latest in a long line of TV shows to imagine an athlete's coming out process. The depiction of quarterback Rex Evans making the decision to come out as a gay man has largely been treated with care, compassion and complexity.
The storyline reflects evolving attitudes toward LGBT equality in American culture and it differs from previous coming out plots in that Rex isn't fired or forced onto injured reserve. But there is one trait that Rex Evans shares with most of his fictional gay athlete predecessors:
I am currently researching the history of LGBT athletes on television for a study that is due out this fall, but one doesn't need a content analysis to see that an overwhelming majority of gay athletes depicted in entertainment media are white.
The gay quarterback from Showtime's Queer As Folk? White. The gay tight end from ESPN's Playmakers? White. Eric Dane as a gay quarterback on the movie Valentine's Day, the gay
You can also check out this blog at The Huffington Post.