The Story of Colin Jackson Will Help You Understand Straight Privilege

Howdy, my fellow heteros! I was just thinking how great it is when you get into a new relationship or you start seeing someone and you constantly fill up your social media channels with pictures of them. Holding hands in the city centre on a sunny Saturday afternoon to do some shopping and enjoy some lunch, before you give each a little kiss before parting ways. I mean, it’s nice, ain’t it? To be fair, I’ve been doing that since my mid-teens but never really thought much about it, but why should I? It’s never been an issue

However, something shook me recently, like proper shook. Former world champion hurdler and much-loved pundit, Colin Jackson came out as gay today. Now, that’s fine and dandy but the biggest shock for me was when I found out his age. He’s 50 years old! He could actually pass as being an older brother rather than nearly being the same age as my dad – By the way, Colin. If you see this hit me up with your skincare regime. I’m going to need it in a few years. Once I got over the shock of his age, I came across this interview that taken place in 2003 after he retired, where he denied he was gay and that he had a “private” girlfriend. A few years later, he got outed by someone he had an affair with but denied it again in public but came out to his parents. To out someone is horrible but to do it so publicly takes it to a whole new level of scumbaggery but yet for anyone to feel they have to deny who they are is heartbreaking. That happened in 2006, he only came out to his parents when he was 39. That’s a bloody long time to hide something as big as that. When you get into a relationship, you want to show them off and get them to meet your parents. It’s exciting introducing someone you care about with the people who have raised you since birth. By 39, this person had never been able to do that and that seriously breaks my heart.

Here, we have one of the biggest sports stars of the 90’s and one of the most well-liked pundits and TV personalities of the 21st century and yet there’s not even one “pap” shot of him with anyone. He states he’s a private person in his 2003 interview, mainly due to spending the past couple of decades being solely focused on training and his performance on the track. But yet, even since then, he’s made several red carpet appearances but yet no sign of a significant other. Of course, he is very well within his rights to have a private life, but usually every now and then you will occasionally see a celebrity attempting to go incognito under a hat while wearing big sunglasses. Sometimes, it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But in Jackson’s 50 years, there’s not one picture of him with in any sort of romantic setting at all. If there was a picture of him with another man having a candlelit dinner at the back of a nice restaurant, that picture would be on the front page of all national newspapers the following morning.

Here’s the thing I find hardest to wrap my head around, for the vast majority of his life, this guy probably has felt unable to be himself and do the things that I or many other people could do. Not only has he had the pressures of coming out as a gay person which I  can only assume must be incredibly stressful but also coming out as a  media personality. I understand a lot of his early years he was dedicated to being the ultimate professional athlete but now he’s retired and has been for nearly 15 years. There’s no reason why he should have to hide as much as possible and it’s incredibly sad that anyone feels they can’t do or say certain things based on their sexuality for fear of a) being judged or b) making headlines.

Following on from that, Pride has been this month taking place in various cities around the UK. For those who don’t know what Pride is, it’s an event that celebrates the LGBT+ community. Obviously, with great support for a minority group comes great douchebaggery from an incredibly fragile majority. I’m sure you will have seen the comments such as “Y’s they’re not a strait pryde?!” from Professional Handyman, Big Stevie (55) or “Am Prowd of bein straight, wheres ma event?” by Official Yummy Mummy, Kelly-Marie (22). Well, Stevie and Kelly-Marie until you get discriminated against because of your sexuality, or unless you feel you have to go half a century having to hide any sort of relationship or feelings you have, while constantly being quizzed about your love life then you’re in no mind to demand a straight Pride.

I am incredibly lucky to be heterosexual and a guy, I know that comes with privileges and I know inequality exists. I’ve seen my little cousin and friends get discriminated against simply because of their sexuality. Whether it be from bouncers at nightclubs or even when it comes to getting a job. I’m under no illusion privileges exist and you should realise your own privileges. I know I can walk down the street holding hands with a girl and no one will bat an eyelid, I watched my cousin say goodbye to his boyfriend at the time with a hug and even I could hear the whispers and see their heads doing a second-take. If it made me feel uncomfortable, then I can only imagine what it would be like for my little cousin. So instead of whining about you not having a Straight Pride, remember you already have privileges, people at Gay Pride often do not. So next time you kiss your boyfriend/girlfriend goodbye at the train station and go about your day without a second thought, without intense whispers and awkward glances. That right there is a privilege, it shouldn’t take another heterosexual person to tell you that you’re already privileged. Less talk about Straight Pride and get behind Gay Pride and show your support for the LGBT+ community instead.

Image result for pride

 

Jay Carrington

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