Steve Buckley has been a sports columnist with the Boston Herald since 1995, but on Jan. 6, 2011, he submitted what is likely his most important column, when he announced to the world that he is gay.
In an honest, brave and obviously forthcoming column (one in which he self-admittedly buries the lead, "a common complaint about [his] writing over the years"), Buckley details when he originally decided to come out to the world in his column, after a conversation with his mom.
Just over seven years ago, before Thanksgiving, we were getting into the car outside of a CVS when my mother said, "I think you should go ahead and do that story you've been talking about."
"Yes," she said. "Just go ahead and do it. And then we'll have a party."
She was talking about the story in which I would say that I am gay.
But Buckley never got around to writing it, and he kept putting it off. Until Thursday.
I haven't been fair to my family, my friends or my co-workers. And I certainly haven't been fair to myself: For too many years I've been on the sidelines of Boston's gay community but not in the game - figuratively and literally, as I feel I would have had a pretty good career in the (gay) Beantown Softball League.
So what's this mean for Buckley going forward? WEEI's John Dennis and Gerry Callahan (obviously not the go-to source for LGBT issues, but still) are split, with Callahan thinking (or projecting?) that Buckley will face a rude awakening when he visits the Patriots' locker room or the Red Sox' clubhouse. I think (and hope) that Dennis, who argues that it won't be an issue, is right in this case.
It goes without saying that in 2011, the world is more accepting than it ever has been before, but moreover, by coming out in a column, Buckley has the added advantage that literally everyone knows. While there may be players, coaches or even co-worker's who don't necessarily agree with Buckley, it seems unlikely that any would actually voice their negative opinions, or make their sophomoric jokes. The recent publicity that has surrounded being openly hateful is quickly making it socially unacceptable to be outwardly prejudice.
But even Buckley himself is not sure what's next.
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.