In case you hadn’t heard, NBA center Jason Collins is gay.
Most of the internet has reacted very positively and supportively. Few people are freaking out in public. But I’m guessing you have heard, as I have, more intense freakouts in private. They’re boring repeats of a billion boring private freakouts I’ve heard from straight men about gay athletes a billion boring times before.
But you know what? There’s more to the way some people freak out about gay male athletes in a way that they don’t about gay female athletes than the fact that stereotyped lesbians (masculine) confirm the stereotypes about female athletes (masculine, all lesbians), while stereotyped gay men (feminine) challenge the stereotypes about male athletes (masculine to the max, exemplars of traditional masculinity).
Above and beyond that, the reaction to the spectre of a gay male athlete has its roots in the fears of loss of privilege. (Spoiler alert! A privilege women never have!)
Have you seen the picture meme that goes around that says “homophobia: you’re not afraid, you’re just an asshole”? While the latter is true, I don’t think the former is true. I think this gets closer: