Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Social Justice Event

One on One with Chris Burns 

The event I attended was on campus and was called “One on One with Chris Burns”. Chris was the first collegiate coach to come out as gay. He coaches the D1 basketball at Bryant University. He stated that all through high school he was the basketball start dating the head cheerleader, but he knew it didn’t feel right. He felt like something was wrong but ignored that feeling because he wanted to fit the stereotype of star athlete dating the head cheerleader. Once he went off to college at Bryant he realized that he was gay but was too scared to tell anyone because he did not want to hear the remarks or lose any friends. He kept it to himself but was dating someone named Anthony while in college. He discussed how people were suspicious about them being together and started making remarks. Keeping himself “in the closet” was “detaching him from his family and friends” he had to hide his identity from everyone in order to be accepted. When he finally came out as gay and the news leaked out everywhere he lost many friends, but had a support group of friends and his family that stuck with him. When asked what his parents said when he came out, his response was “they suspected it, and cannot wait to meet my boyfriend.” He was asked how do you think it will affect your coaching career? and he responded with that he knows he may never get a head coach position and that is fine with him because if he can be at least an assistant coach and teach and watch others succeed in the sport he loves then that is the greatest accomplishment out there. At the closing of his talk he told us that everyone’s life is a journey, do not rush it. If you do not feel comfortable you don’t have to say anything yet, and don’t let your fears take you over. Throughout this whole event I could think of Gerri August and her safe spaces article. This is about someone considered to be LGBT and how they need a safe place to be themselves. For Chris before he came out there was no safe space for him, he had no one to talk to, no one to “protect” him, and he was afraid of what reality could bring. After coming out, he found his safe space with his team he coaches, family, and support group of friends. He felt he could now truly be Chris Burns. Another author that stuck out to me while listening to Chris speak was Johnson and “say the words”. If Chris never said the words that he was gay he would still be someone he is not. He knew that his problem growing up was he liked the same-sex but was not sure how to say it, when to say it, or if he should say it. Since he said the words like Johnson would of encouraged him to do he was able to take a moment and think “I am now me”. The last author that came to mind was Grinner and SCWAMMP, Chris fit every aspect of SCWAMMP besides the straightness. Listening to him talk I was thinking he was once considered what America values, but now he would be looked like as less. He wouldn’t have equal job opportunities, he would be looked at as different, and he would be seen as less than someone else. Thinking he is “different” is completely incorrect, he is no different than you and I, he is human and has every right to be just as successful as everyone else. 

A youtube video by USA today about the coverage story on Chris Burns 

An article that Chris wrote about himself and coming out as gay

This is an article about LGBT people and playing sports, it is a 2016 article

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