Wilbon starts his column by making a direct relationship between the plight of race and the plight of sexual preference, two things which are completely unrelated and yet get referenced so often you would think that homosexuals are all from a continent where every person was genetically homosexual (and somehow reproduced...) This entire topic, though, should be the subject of another entry at another time.
Taking just one aspect of this whole debate into focus: I must ask the question: What is this locker room thing all about to start with? Why are there even dressing rooms?
The question especially gains some momentum as Wilbon quotes some NBA players who express their worries about a homosexual player making sexual passes at them. Wilbon identifies such statement as ignorant.
In attempting to come up with the origin of the sports locker room to begin with, may I suggest a few reasons these locations have evolved:
- As a place to stash one's belongings securely (hence the term "locker room")
- As a place to gather as a team before a team event
- As a place to change clothes in private (though not complete privacy)
- As a place to shower, use the restroom, etc.
And there may be other factors involved. In the meantime, consider #'s 3 & 4. Except for the exhibitionist (which is still illegal, I believe) most people prefer to undress and/or get dressed in a secluded spot where they will not be seen by the general public, and more important that they will not be seen by members of the opposite sex. While it seems that this is traditionally more important to women than to men, it does remain important to both sexes. So, this then brings up the very point of issue about the location referred to as a locker room. These have traditionally (and apparently ignorantly by Michael Wilbon's standards) been labeled "Men" for men and "Women" for women. Am I right?
So, in our apparently backward culture we have always divided up men and women in their locker rooms for some reason. Is it merely because they are not usually on the same teams so a women's basketball has their own locker room just like the opposing men's team would also have a separate locker room? No, because obviously there is a common standard that is applied to the arena of being undressed because of the sexual nature of wearing no clothes. If a man knowingly enters a women's locker room where women are, he will most likely face some sort of legal action. Such entry is illegal in order to protect those who have taken shelter in this very place for the purposes of their own privacy. Women are not called "heterophobes" because they desire to have privacy from those who might look upon them sexually. In the same way, men are not called "heterophobes" for desiring a similar right of privacy.
So now in our progressive day and age when all things are permissable, is the locker room to become a thing of the past? Is any man who decides to get dressed in the locker room rather than on the bench going to be labeled "some-sort-of-phobe"? I'm sure that I'll be labeled even for posing such a question, but it begs to be asked: If being homosexual is equivalent but different from being heterosexual, then what is the future of the sports locker room? Maybe there should be locker rooms for heterosexual males, heterosexual females, and then an additional one for homosexual males and one for homosexual females. But wait, wouldn't it make more sense for homosexual males and females to dress together since there is no sexual attraction involved? But wait yet again, wouldn't it be wrong for two homosexual males to dress in the same locker room? (I mean, we're talking about committed, monogamous relationships with high standards here, right?)
I imagine the only solution is for locker rooms to be more like dressing rooms with completely individual stalls for getting dressed and also individual showers. I guess it's a good idea to buy stock in bathroom tiles as there's going to be a lot of remodeling.