Anderson Silva Makes Awesome, Troubling Comments On Homosexuality In MMA
Anderson Silva is preparing to return to mixed martial arts after breaking his leg in horrific fashion last December. In the meantime, he gave an interview to Brazilian lifestyle magazine Trip that recounted his struggles growing up poor in Sao Paulo, issues with racism, and even homosexuality. Silva is often "accused" of being gay. His comments disputing those claims were equal parts awesome and troubling.
Let's get to the good stuff, Via VICE's Fightland:
On prejudice towards homosexuals in mixed martial arts:
I don’t think there’s prejudice, but there’s a lot of homosexuals in mixed martial arts. There are a lot of them who haven’t yet come out.
[If they were to come out,] nowadays it’s so silly to not express your feelings. As long as you respect people’s spaces, and respect their limits. You have to live your life in peace and no one has anything to do with that.
I would train with a gay man. As long as he respected me, it’s all right. I don’t think much of it. The fact that guy is gay doesn’t mean he’s going to accost you. He can be gay, have a relationship, live among guys who aren’t gay. he can do whatever he wants with his private life.
On vanity and getting picked on in the gym:
They tease me. Sometimes people think I’m gay. A lot of people have asked me if I’m gay. I answer, “Look, not to my knowledge. But I’m still young, it could be that in the future I’ll find out that I’m gay. I take good care of my things, I put everything in a bag, I use soap, I put on a cream after training. People think it’s capricious. To each his own. Doesn’t mean you’re more man or less man, more gay or less gay.
If Silva is right, we'll hopefully see many competitors come out of the closet in the near future, which would be a huge advancement for gay rights considering the perceived "manliness" and brutality of MMA.
It's also great to see Silva being so open-minded and downright sweet about the prospect of working with and fighting gay men. This is the mindset of most good, rational people -- understanding that being gay doesn't mean you're a part of a club that recruits people over to your side. That's called "being a missionary," actually. The fact that Silva thinks he could still be gay at some point speaks volumes about his understanding of the spectrum of human sexuality. He doesn't fear the unknown. That's good.
The part about "I put everything in a bad, I use soap, I put on a cream" is... less good. Do straight dudes not use bags? Do they not use soap? Is being clean a gay thing? I'd say that's perpetuating stereotypes, but if gay people don't want to lay claim to the idea that they are clean, I'd say that's a bad look. If using soap makes you gay, consider me Freddie Mercury. I love soap.
He finishes strong with the "Doesn’t mean you’re more man or less man, more gay or less gay" bit though.
This is definitely four steps forward and one step back for athletes commenting on homosexuality, so it's a win. But Silva was so close to hitting a home run here that a triple feels like a let down. Royals fans know what I'm talking about.
Photo via Getty
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