Jonathan Zimmerman: The Coming-Out We All Ignored

Roundup: Historians' Take

Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history and education at New York University. He is writing a history of sex education around the world.

Hey, did you hear the big sports news? One of the best basketball players of our time just came out as gay. I’m not talking about Jason Collins, the journeyman NBA center who came out on Monday. This season, playing for two teams, he averaged just over 1 point a game.

I’m talking instead about Brittney Griner, the first NCAA player to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots. A three-time All-American, she was the No. 1 pick in the Women’s National Basketball Association draft on April 15. A few days later, Griner told interviewers that she’s gay.

And the world shrugged. “Can you imagine if it was a man who did the exact same thing?” asked one gay blogger. “Everyone’s head would have exploded.”...

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