NYT columnist Frank Bruni addresses clueless straights who wonder why gay people make such a big deal about coming out:
[Some] conversation in the days to come, perhaps not public discussion but certainly private grumbling, will include questions about why Collins has to rock the boat, why the news media is paying such lavish heed to him and why gays and lesbians in general make such a fuss of things. I know this from my in-box, where some readers routinely tell me that they’d be less bothered by homosexuals if we’d just please shut up about it.
Many of us want to, and will: when a gay, lesbian or transgendered kid isn’t at special risk of being brutalized or committing suicide. When the federal government outlaws discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, which it still hasn’t done. When immigration laws give same-sex couples the same consideration that they do heterosexual ones. When the Defense of Marriage Act crumbles and our committed relationships aren’t relegated to a lesser status, a diminished dignity....
When an athlete like Collins can be honest about himself without he and his co-author having to stress that he’s a guy’s guy, a godly man, someone who stayed mum about himself before now precisely so he wouldn’t disrupt his teams or upset his teammates, someone who’s inhabited locker rooms for 12 seasons already without incident. When a gay person’s central-casting earnestness and eloquence aren’t noted with excitement and relief, because his or her sexual orientation needn’t be accompanied by a litany of virtues and accomplishments in order for bigotry to be toppled and a negative reaction to be overcome.
A society that discriminates against LGBT people—and some in our society are working to expand discrimination against us—is, in a very real sense, refusing to "shut up" about homosexuality. Legislating against homosexuality = lawmakers refusing to shut up about it. Allowing anti-gay laws that already exist to remain on the books = refusing to shut up about it. Gay people will always have to come out to our families, friends, and coworkers. But legal discrimination and anti-gay bias forces us to speak out and fight back. Discrimination, hate, and bigotry puts us in a position of having to organize, argue, and get in your straight faces. Discriminate against us less, harass us less, hate us less and we will have a lot less to talk about.
We might even have the luxury to shut up about it.