Homophobic Slurs Are Always Meant to Offend

Kobe Bryant's recent use of an anti-gay slur is a prime example of how we need to directly address homophobia -- by re-examining what it means to be a man.

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James Baldwin was unquestionably one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, and one of the best the United States has produced within its borders. He was also gay. He wasn't a great writer in spite of his sexual orientation; in some ways he was a great writer precisely because of the perspective his sexuality offered to him.

But Baldwin is a hero of mine not only as a towering literary figure but also as a man. His sexuality made him no less of a man than any other icons we uphold as shining examples of manhood, and if we are truly about the business of eradicating homophobia, we should be able to say that much.

Mychal Denzel Smith is a writer, social commentator and mental health advocate. Follow him on Twitter.

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