Number 2 Hero of the Year 2012: Chris Kluwe

30 Dec
Number 2 Hero of 2012

Number 2 Hero of 2012

The success of any social movement requires effort not just from the oppressed but from their allies. This year the LGBT community got a big boost from an unexpected source. NFL star Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings came out blazing for marriage equality. Once he got people’s attention, he refused to be silent. I must confess a great amount of joy at the amazing number of nominations that poured in for Kluwe as Hero of the Year–thank you TSM Readers.

His advocacy started when another player, Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo, expanded his ongoing support (after work with NoH8 and other groups). Ayanbadejo joined the fight for marriage equality in Maryland and was attacked by a local politician. Recognizing the opportunity for advocacy, Kluwe wrote a public letter to the offending bigot, skewering him, supporting Ayanbadejo, and making a clear, commonsense case for marriage equality.

This straight, white, rich guy used his privilege to speak truth to power, modelling great behavior. On top of that, he did so with wit (introducing the phrase “lustful cockmonster” into the vernacular) and insistence. Since the initial foray, Kluwe has been a strong voice for LGBT equality — he even debated marriage rights with an empty chair immediately after the GOP convention. Kluwe and Ayanbadejo deserve credit for helping the successful equality campaigns in their states and for showing that professional athletes can be supporters of the LGBT community without suffering.

Honorable mention goes to Ayanbadejo for his stellar advocacy work. It also goes to the steadily increasing number of LGBT athletes who are coming out and serving as role models in traditionally homophobic careers. Silence =Death and visibility = power.  A huge thank you to all of the LGBT allies out there.  With your help, we can stamp out homophobia!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the Number 1 Hero of 2012.

7 Responses to “Number 2 Hero of the Year 2012: Chris Kluwe”

  1. nevercontrary December 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    I used to love living in Minnesota.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

      When did you live in Minnesota?

      • nevercontrary December 31, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

        From 6th grade through 9th. I truly loved it. I even enjoyed the cold, although, I think as an adult I would have a harder time with the cold.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 31, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

        Those are very formative years. I have to say I prefer the cold over the hot humidity, but most of my friends prefer the heat.

      • nevercontrary January 1, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

        You know they really are. Because I have lived in 8 states and that is the only state I still keep in touch with people from.

  2. Bruce Thompson December 31, 2012 at 5:02 am #

    It is your list Michael first and foremost. I would say, however, “thinking out of the box,” Brendon and Kluwe together. How symbolic!!! Picture it. They “built that!” (momentum) together.

    For Brendon being a man of color it was bold, risky on so many levels, not to mention spiritually moving to say the least. Using privilege in a bold and spiritual way equality so in a country such as ours with the pain and horror of slavery still at our feet. The facts about Brendon were on point! Clearly, you are paying attention as well.

    I think you can, at least, add an image of Brendon w/Chris!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 31, 2012 at 5:42 am #

      I wholly agree with you regarding the risk taken by Brendon and in my original celebration of the two, I did have pictures of both men. The final five Heroes of the Year came from nominations from blog followers within the past three weeks.

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