Attention biologists, geneticists and other scientists looking for the cause of homosexuality: You may now turn your attention to other research. A Kentucky man, Jaye Collins, has discovered the origin of gayness, at least in women: Basketball.
Collins is coach of a girl’s basketball team, the Louisville Legends, which he formed to protect innocents from the evil round ball and its predatory dribblers. Quoting Collins on the Legends website:
Whew, I’m so relieved I didn’t play basketball and turn into a lesbian.
Pat Griffin, former director of It Takes a Team and author of Strong Women, Deep Closets: Lesbians and Homophobia in Sports, knows bigotry when she sees it.
“Collins is teaching prejudice and fear under the guise of making girls basketball “safe” for straight, Christian girls,” she writes. What about Legend players who are questioning their sexuality or who know they are gay? He is teaching them to hate and fear themselves. He is teaching them shame and denial.”
Exactly. And, although my virtual gaydar isn’t 100% accurate, a quick scroll through team photos gives me the feeling that several of them may be well beyond the questioning stage.
Griffin continues. “What happens to Legends players when they are recruited to play college ball and find that they have lesbian teammates or coaches whom they are expected to treat with respect? Will the example set by Coach Collins’ anti-gay and pro-Christian beliefs make it more difficult for Legends players to adjust to a team where player and coach diversity is valued and respected? Where lesbians are not assumed to be drooling child molesters or out to convert all their teammates to their ‘homosexual lifestyle?’”
Ah, there’s the rub. After we finish chuckling and rolling our eyes at the sheer absurdity of Coach Collins’ goals for his team, we realize the implications of making homophobia a part of team spirit. While the coach seems to be highly qualified to teach young women to be better basketball players, he does members of his team a disservice by passing along his personal prejudices against lesbians. Especially those who might be playing on his team.
The saddest thing is that Coach Collins is missing an opportunity to teach his team real Christian values like acceptance, kindness and unconditional love. And the team misses the chance to discover that they can become elite basketball players without hiding who they are. Ironically, women won’t turn into lesbians by playing basketball, but they can definitely turn into homophobes by playing basketball for a coach like Jaye Collins.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Coach Collins and his Louisville Legends.