Boxer Evander Holyfield is participating in the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother, and this week on the show he made a series of anti-gay comments, claiming that homosexuality “ain’t normal,” comparing being gay to having a physical handicap, calling it a choice, and suggesting it can be “fixed.” Though producers scolded him for the comments, he has not apologized.
Since then, Holyfield’s son, Ewin Holyfield, has come to his defense. Pointing out that Evander has treated his gay brother-in-law as a brother, Ewin explained to TMZ why his father is not a bigot:
EWIN HOLYFIELD: 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. [...] 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.
Rejecting homosexuality is largely responsible for the epidemic of LGBT youth homelessness. Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center in New York, a shelter for these abandoned children, made this point in response to the Duck Dynasty controversy:
SICILIANO: When Phil Robertson and others condemn LGBT people in the name of Christ, they help create a climate where many religious parents condemn their LGBT children. The Ali Forney Center is inundated with youths from across the country who have been thrown out of their homes by religious parents who rejected them. Over 200,000 LGBT youths are enduring homelessness in the USA. LGBT youth will not be safe until more Christians follow the example of Jesus Christ, who never uttered a word in judgment or condemnation of LGBT people.
Both Evander and Ewin Holyfield, like Phil Robertson and many other individuals organizations opposed to LGBT equality, seem to hold beliefs about homosexuality that are factually untrue. While conservatives are quick to cite their freedoms of speech and religion and defend their character, they often ignore any accountability for the harm caused by spreading such misinformation.
Watch Evander Holyfield’s remarks from Celebrity Big Brother: