On April 29, 2013, basketball star Jason Collins came out publically as gay, the first active US male pro sports player to do so. Collins, 34, is a center for the Washington Wizards, and at 7 feet tall, 255 pounds, is not exactly the stereotypical image of a gay man. Jason’s twin brother Jarron also played professional basketball; in 2001 Jason was a first round draft pick for the New Jersey Nets, and Jarron was a second round pick for the Utah Jazz.
Jarron retired after a decade, while Jason went on to play for the Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and most recently, the Washington Wizards. His frank discussion of his sexuality in a cover story for Sports Illustrated made international news, albeit Collins preserved his privacy, simply stating that he is not currently in a relationship. In the article, Collins cuts right to the chase, as its opening lines affirm:
“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay. I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”
Before coming out, Collins maintained a public, but secretive, connection to his sexuality by choosing to wear the number 98 on his jersey, his private reference to honor Matthew Shepard, killed in a gay hate crime in 1998.
When the news broke on April 29, celestial factors concurred with the story. An exact inconjunct of Mercury (news) at 25 Aries and Sappho (representing gay themes, named for an ancient Greek lesbian poet) at 25 Virgo was enhanced by asteroid Collins (#6471) at 25 Cancer, exactly squared by Mercury and exactly sextile Sappho, tying the crucial elements of the story together precisely. Asteroid Jason (#6063) at 5 Aries was conjunct Uranus at 10 Aries, bringing the surprising revelation (even the SI reporters were uncertain who they would be interviewing until they arrived, being told in advance only that an NBA player was coming out).
The timing of Collins’ announcement seems to have been influenced by transits to his birth chart. Born 2 December 1978, Collins sports natal Sappho at 16 Scorpio, currently conjoined exactly by the transit North Node, a point of destiny representing our highest good and future development. Opposing Sappho was transit Venus, ruling love, romance and intimacy at 17 Taurus, with asteroid Ganymed, another gay-themed asteroid (named for Zeus’ underage cupbearer and boy-toy lover) at 19 Leo in square. Natally Sappho is joined by Uranus, governing unorthodox or provocative acts, at 18 Scorpio and asteroid Eros, in ancient times the special patron of homosexual unions, at 20 Scorpio.
The Lunar Eclipse of April 25 at 5 Scorpio, just four days before Collins came out, fell in exact square to natal asteroid Jason at 5 Aquarius, highlighting him personally and publically, and the subsequent Solar Eclipse of May 9 at 19 Taurus opposes the Ganymed/Uranus/Eros stellium. The LE also brought out a T-Square of Jason and natal Chiron, representing maverick behaviors and dancing to the beat of a different drummer, at 5 Taurus, with transit Mars (sexuality, sports) conjoined Chiron from 6 Taurus when Collins came out. Natal asteroid Collins at 14 Leo was squared transit Venus and also squared the transit Nodal Axis of 16 Scorpio/Taurus, and had just been conjoined by transit Ganymed. An exact natal pairing of Mercury (news, public statements) and Neptune (disguises, false fronts, but also clarity and clarification) at 17 Sagittarius was exactly opposed by transit Jupiter (publicity, renown, reputation) at 17 Gemini, while transit Saturn (career) at 8 Scorpio was in exact square to natal Jupiter at 8 Leo.
Public reaction to Jason Collins’ revelation has been largely supportive and favorable, especially in the professional sports community, ranging from tweeted kudos to anticlimactic yawns. In some ways, it’s hard to believe it took this long to break this barrier.