Evander Holyfield may be one of boxing’s most lovable stars, but there was little that people adored about the heavyweight champ this weekend when, on an episode of the U.K.’s “Celebrity Big Brother,” he claimed that homosexuality is unnatural and can be changed, like a handicap. Since then, Holyfield has been criticized by many across the globe, but his son recently came to his defense and claimed that his father is no homophobe.
In a statement to TMZ, Ewin Holyfield claimed that his father isn’t a bigot, saying that his dad has a great relationship with a family member who is gay.
“My dad is the most loving and caring person you will ever meet. He treats everyone like a human being … even if they are homosexual,” Ewin said.
Ewin explained that he agrees with his father about homosexuality being unnatural and a choice, but he claims that that doesn’t mean that he or his father would ever mistreat someone for choosing to be gay.
“My dad feels that being gay is a choice … and naturally that’s how things work. You cannot procreate and make a baby with two women, or two men. But at the same time, my dad is not going to judge someone for their sexual orientation,” Ewin said.
Granted, neither Holyfield nor his son’s comment reeked of malice, but one doesn’t have to be malicious to be ignorant or have a damaging effect with their words or actions. The plight and oppression of any minority group at least partially lies in the stripping away of their humanity, and just as every other minority group beside them, the LGBT community is often stripped or their humanity and any sense of morality by the accusation that they somehow choose a life that others, who are supposedly living righteously, deem as the opposite of normal or right.
To have your very existence and identity questioned plants the seed in others that you can be treated with less care and humanity, and we’ve all seen the results in the discrimination and violence that the LGBT community, as well as all other minority groups, faces.
Hopefully, Holyfield and his son can take this experience of having their character and identity come into question and try to have empathy for another group whose lives are always under scrutiny.
Check out some other celebrity LGBT offenders below. –nicholas robinson