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The Gay Bachelor

COMMUNITY: In my humble opinion, Colton Underwood, the TV bachelor who recently came out as gay, is no role model for gay youth struggling with their sexual identity. I don't think it was his intention to be a role model for them, but I'm sure many young gay people watch “The Bachelor”, and may think he's someone to look up to. He's not.

A positive gay male celebrity role model would be Ricky Martin, who came out because he did not want his children to see him living a lie.

Another positive gay celebrity role model is Neil Patrick Harris. As for lesbian role models, a good choice would be Lily Tomlin.

If you listen closely to interviews Colton gave when he came out, he sounds like he’s apologizing for being gay, rather than taking pride in who he is.

He infuriated me and other gay people I spoke to when he told Robyn Roberts, his openly gay interviewer on Good Morning America, that part of the reason he didn’t want to come out was because of what he had read in the Bible about being gay. Can you say, “Jim McGreevy, former governor of New Jersey” here?”

As an out and proud gay man since I was 18 years old,, I'm sick and tired of hearing people use the bible as a crutch for remaining closeted and deceiving others.

I can't forget how former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy, who was married to a woman and was forced out of the closet by a male government employee he was having an affair with, boohooed to Oprah Winfrey, “I read in the Bible that being gay was an abomination! I didn’t want to own that!” Apparently, it wasn't an abomination that he was having an ongoing affair with a male gubernatorial employee. Finally, after being outed. he proclaimed, “I'm a gay American!”

Based on the way Jim McGreevy and Colton Underwood were both effectively forced out of the closet, neither should be held up as a model to emulate. Had Jim McGreevy not been threatened with exposure he would have remained closeted. Moreover, while he served as governor of New Jersey, he opposed gay rights.

In his interview on Night Line, Colton Underwood said he used to ask God to "take the gay away", a statement that many of us in the LGBTQ community are sick and tired of hearing.

Statements such as, “Pray the gay away” and “Love the sinner, but hate the sin” need to be abolished. And yet, even though Underwood spoke on Night Line and Good Morning America about being religious and praying the gay away, no one called him out on those negative statements, not even Robyn Roberts, who is lesbian.

Underwood was also reported to have said, “I just found out that gay men can be fathers.” Was he living under a rock? He didn’t know that gay couples such as Elton John and his husband have children? Pathetic! Yet, again, no one called him out on any of this. Mr. Underwood has a long way to go before he'll be out and proud, or, likely before he can embark on a relationship with another man.

He claims to have been a virgin while doing the show, “The Bachelor”, supposedly, because he was gay. That makes no sense. If so, why would he have chosen to go on a show like that? Did he think that once he was married to a woman the gay would go away?

Colton Underwood is 29, old enough to have known he was gay before he decided to go on “The Bachelor.” I do not want to hear that he was unsure if he was gay, was confused, or was asking God for guidance. The majority of gays I’ve known and interacted with on the Internet knew they were gay from a very young age. For example, I knew when I was six years old that I was gay.

And, why do we even still ask gay people, “How old were you when you realized you were gay?” I’ve never once heard a heterosexual person asked, “How old were you when you realized you were straight?”

Mr. Underwood then said that his family and friends have been very supportive. Some even asked, “Why did you keep it this in for so long?” From the sound of it, even though it can be difficult to break a strong religious hold, the issue is more Colton Underwood himself. He strikes me and others I've spoken with as emotionally immature.

I've known people who lived in such fear due to religious teachings that it greatly stunted their development. Religious oppression can be even worse for gay people because we're taught from an early age that, by being gay, we are somehow flawed, less than, and unworthy. Worse, we're told that God does not love us, OR, as an aunt of mine said many years ago, “Being gay means you don’t love God.” The God I believe in loves me for who and what I am and thinks I am fabulous.

I wish Mr. Underwood all the best in his life, but at the same time, please do not attempt to become a role model for young gays striving to come out. They deserve better!

Straight, religious fanatics, some even in my own family, will claim Colton didn't pray hard enough to eliminate his gayness and that he is a failure in the eyes of God. I truly hope he never feels that way.

Some might accuse me of being hypocritical because, when I was a young teenager, I dated a girl, got engaged to her, and planned to marry her. But, this happened when I was a teenager, an insecure kid, who wanted more than anything else to fit in with my straight peers, even though the majority made my life miserable and a living hell by bullying me on a regular basis.

I wanted so much to fit in with my straight peers that I was prepared to throw away who I was, along with my very happiness. In the end, I did not marry my girlfriend, although we remain good friends to this day. After breaking our engagement, I stormed out of that closet, never to look back. Eventually, I severed my ties with the Catholic Church and dismissed its views of homosexuality.

If a frightened boy from a backward Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, like me, could find the courage to come out, then Colton Underwood could have as well and come out the right way.

In my family, I have three out gay second cousins. They were NEVER closeted. They were essentially always out. This is how it should be. If every gay kid who came out were instantly accepted, there would be no stories of people like Colton Underwood or Jim McGreevy out there. When a child tells its parents it is physically and emotionally attracted to persons of its own gender, instead of telling the child that he or she is confused, or too young to know what it likes, parents should instantly accept their child. Anything less is unacceptable.

Christopher Trevor

—Christopher Trevor


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