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Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley comes out of the closet

Jan 6, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

Steve Buckley

A brave and moving column from the Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley this morning:

Over the past couple of months I have discussed the coming-out process with my family and a few friends, and have had sit-downs with Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca and sports editor Hank Hryniewicz, as well as with WEEI’s Glenn Ordway. They’ve been great, as have my friends and family.

But during this same period, I have read sobering stories about people who came undone, killing themselves after being outed. These tragic events helped guide me to the belief that if more people are able to be honest about who they are, ultimately fewer people will feel such devastating pressure.

It’s my hope that from now on I’ll be more involved. I’m not really sure what I mean by being “involved,” but this is a start: I’m gay.

Everyone’s personal life is subject to their own decisions and far be it from any of us to say that anyone is obligated to share it with the public. But the closet can be a damaging and dangerous thing, both to those who would stay in it by choice and to those who believe they have no choice in the matter at all.

Good for Buckley for coming out of it, and good for him for using his public platform to do it.

  1. BC - Jan 6, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    Now THAT takes courage. Good for him. I hope he fares well.

  2. IdahoMariner - Jan 6, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    It’s good for everyone when someone with any kind of public face can be honest about who they are. Good for him.

  3. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 6, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Good stuff

  4. Utley's Hair - Jan 6, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Good for him. That takes guts, especially in such a public forum.

    But, Craig, how will you explain it to Mookie and Oil Can?

  5. Lukehart80 - Jan 6, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    The real question is: does he believe Barry Larkin and Tim Raines belong in the Hall of Fame or not?

    Good for him; each individual act of courage makes the world a better place.

  6. Jonny 5 - Jan 6, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Nooooo!! He can’t be gay. White tube socks with brown corduroys? Not possible.

    I have always been, and am a member of the “It’s nobody’s buisiness what sexual orientation you are, unless you decide to make it their buisness” club. So, If it takes a load off his shoulders? Good for him.

  7. Old Gator - Jan 6, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Certainly a relief to him, and now that he’s gotten it over with let’s hope everyone around him drops the subject as quickly as possible and, as Lukehart80 implies, get back to what ‘s really relevant in the public arena. It’s always a good thing when America grows up, even a little tiny bit at a time like this. But it’s a sad commentary on how juvenile and voyeuristic a society this remains when one’s sexual orientation has to be any kind of public issue at all.

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 6, 2011 at 1:06 PM

      Is it true that Friendo is coming out of the closet?

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 6, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      Gator, couldn’t have said it better myself. As evidenced above.

  8. Mark Armour - Jan 6, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Very impressive. I am thrilled for Buckley, and hope this encourages others to do the same.

  9. ak4759 - Jan 6, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    My question is, “who the hell cares?” I don’t write a piece on my blog about being straight. I don’t understand this double-standard, why does the homosexual community feel the need to put this in front of everyone’s face? If you’re gay, great, if you’re not gay, great, I don’t care, I read your column for sports editorializing and news…let’s stick to that. Maybe some will think that’s overly harsh, but let’s get real people and stop parading this in front of everyone. Your sexuality is your own business, not mine.

    • BC - Jan 6, 2011 at 2:59 PM

      Hopefully no one was threatening to out him, making this a pre-emptive move. I have friend who I knew was gay for years but she never told anyone other than maybe two or three people. She went through hell keeping it secret and there were rumors everywhere. She finally came out publicly and said it was like the weight of the world was off her shoulders. Maybe he was in that situation.
      This reporter just chose to use this vehicle to come out, rather than some other means. I’ve no problem with the vehicle he chose and applaud him (and his editor) for having the guts to do it.

      • ak4759 - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:09 PM

        I can appreciate the “guts,” no argument from me there. But like I said, this is a personal matter, not a matter of public record, I don’t understand why these things continue to be discussed as if they are relevant to Mr. Buckley’s sports views…the two are wholly separate.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:13 PM

      Because we still live in a country where a huge portion of the population views and treats gays as second class citizens and our government denies them civil rights. Buckley, as a public figure in a traditionally manly-man dominated industry can, by going public, show that the sorts of stereotypes associated with homosexuality and which give bigots cover for their discrimination are without merit.

      Sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, but if readers of the Boston Herald sports pages are made aware of Buckley’s sexual orientation, it will help, in its own small way, to normalize views of gay in society and hopefully will lead to greater acceptance and hopefully, one day, equal rights.

      • ak4759 - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM

        Who’s uncomfortable? I just don’t believe that we, the public, need an update on Mr. Buckley’s sexual orientation. Simple as that.

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:14 PM

      Heterosexuality doesn’t have a stigma attached to it. It is considered mainstream. It isn’t looked down upon by large segments of the population, as well as a large portion of the political establishment who might even outlaw it if possible. It is the orientation that most parents and other authority figures assume to be the orientation for their kids.

      And if somebody came out and said “I’m straight,” how many people do you think would cringe or react uncomfortably—whether that is a conscious reaction or not?

      Hopefully, it will get to the point where your question will be the norm, rather than a somewhat angry and knee-jerk reaction.

      • BC - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:28 PM

        Well put, both Craig and Utley.

    • buddaley - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:34 PM

      I echo what Craig and others have said. I add this. Here is a telling statement in your post:

      “but let’s get real people and stop parading this in front of everyone.”

      So let’s get real. Don’t heterosexuals parade their orientation in front of everyone? Isn’t the macho posturing and the endless jokes and winking byplay on sports shows as well as elsewhere an effort to parade the tough masculinity of the reporters and commentators in front of the audience, to gain the approval and admiration of that audience for their manliness?

      The point is not to parade sexual orientation but to allow it to be what it is without comment, and that cannot happen until people feel there is no need for the closet.

      • IdahoMariner - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:25 PM

        extremely well put.

      • IdahoMariner - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:28 PM

        specifically…maybe someday we will stop mocking someone for their poor play as “playing like a girl” (a twofer for demeaning women and implying that anything less than athletic superiority is less than manly), maybe the F word will go away (the 6 letter one, I happily use the 4 letter one all the time) maybe people can just grow up and move on. Until then, it’s going to take a lot of brave people to confront the cultural “norm” and say who they are.

      • ak4759 - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:35 PM

        what I was referring to with my “parading” comment was one’s sexual orientation, not my uncomfortable-ness with the piece.

        And I’m sorry, the point is not for sexual orientation to be “what it is without comment.” The point is that this guy is a sports columnist for a newspaper and his sexual orientation should have no bearing on the discussion just like Mike Greenberg’s jewish beliefs have no bearing on his commentary on the Mike & Mike show and how Tom Skilling’s (chicago weather guy) political beliefs have no bearing on his weather forecasts.

        Like I stated in my original comment, “If you’re gay, great, if you’re not gay, great, I don’t care, I read your column for sports editorializing and news…let’s stick to that.” That is the point.

      • ak4759 - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:37 PM

        you can try to get off-topic by saying that others are made “uncomfortable” by this or that this are all these great injustices going on…that’s fine, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about a sports columnist talking about his sexual orientation in his column and saying, “that ain’t the place for it.”

  10. buddaley - Jan 6, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    I was not assuming your remarks indicated you were uncomfortable. I am referring to the phrase itself which presumes that announcing that one is gay is parading one’s sexual orientation. What it is is refusing to be quiet about it, because to be so is to give in to the prevailing climate of bigotry.

    Heterosexuals are constantly parading-indeed trumpeting-their sexual preferences, and rarely does anyone criticize them for distracting from their job as reporters or columnists unless they cross the line into harassment or gross vulgarity. Imagine if a couple of ESPN gay sports show hosts engaged in the kind of banter about same sex acquaintances, friends or partners that their heterosexual colleagues do about their opposite sex friends et al. The uproar would deafen us all.

    His column is exactly the place for it. The bigotry is so intense and prevalent-and often tacitly accepted-that when a person has a platform from which to announce his/her intention not to accept such attitudes, s/he should be admired for the courage it takes and the good it does in airing the issue. And negative stereotypes about gays are a particular concern in the sports world, so it is particularly appropriate in a sports column.

    • buddaley - Jan 6, 2011 at 7:13 PM

      Incidentally, if Mike Greenberg styled himself Mike Greene and was surrounded by anti-semitic bigotry, I would expect him to let us know that he was Jewish and was hindered in his occupation by such an atmosphere, or felt it necessary in light of the problems Jews faced to stand up with other Jews rather than remaining hidden and safe.

      That is a very different thing from using a sports show or weather report to publish one’s political views. This is about asserting one’s right to live one’s life with dignity, not about trying to push a particular agenda.

      • AK47 - Jan 7, 2011 at 4:01 PM

        come on….that’s a VERY slanted way of looking at it. “Prevailing climate of bigotry”? Who’s oppressing homosexuals aside from an ignorant and hateful few that might as well be ignored? Here’s my thoughts on what you both have said, basically, people who are looking to be victims, will be.

        My question is, how does my opinion of Mr. Buckley (or what he says in his column) change because I now know he’s gay? It doesn’t and I wouldn’t have known the difference if he had never said anything nor would I have cared (or probably even ever thought about it). That is my point here. If he wants to let his friends and family know, that’s great, but letting me know is useless because it does not affect me in any way. This is the point I’m trying to make here. Whatever, we disagree, that’s fine. I appreciate that this discussion didn’t simply degrade into name calling, that is progress.

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