The world of sports has been one of the last bastions of “heterosexuals only, please,” in America. And yet, thanks to the work of Cyd Zeigler, Jr. at OutSports, today we learn that there have been twenty-five sports figures to come out to say, “I’m gay” in 2011 alone.
Add to this list of 25 openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sports figures, the the anti-homophobia PSA the NBA produced last month, news this week that the San Francisco Giants will become the first pro sports team to produce an “It Gets Better” video, along with news this week that straight-ally rugby star Ben Cohen is quitting the sport to run his anti-bullying organization, plus the news two weeks ago of New York Rangers’ Sean Avery’s video supporting marriage equality.
Then there’s Charles Barkley’s statement Tuesday on gay pro athletes:
“First of all, every player has played with gay guys. It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say: ‘Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.’ First of all, quit telling me what I think. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.”
Perhaps it’s not totally OK to say “I’m gay” in sports quite yet, but it would seem it’s getting a little easier, especially thanks to these 25 brave men and women.
- Steve Buckley, Boston Herald sports reporter
- Johnny Weir, Olympic figure skater
- Travon Free, former Long Beach State men’s basketball player (bisexual)
- Akil Patterson, greco-roman wrestler
- Brad Usselman, Washington high school runner
- Robert Scott, high school soccer player
- Ben Newcomer, high school soccer player
- Craig Cassey, Philadelphia high school runner
- Steven Davies, English cricket player
- Jaime Loo, San Francisco high school wrestler
- Graeme Obree, Scottish cyclist
- Emma Dehlson, California high school basketball player
- Anton Hysen, professional Swedish soccer player
- Mari Burningham, University of Redlands women’s head volleyball coach
- Brandon Stoneham, Adelphi University men’s soccer player
- Nick Clark, Siena Heights University assistant men’s volleyball coach
- Colin Joyner, Bowdoin College head men’s tennis coach
- Ben Chadwick, Bowdoin College men’s lacrosse captain
- Emerson Whitney, Bar Harbor, Maine, transgender sports reporter
- Jeffrey Wammes, Dutch gymnast
- Mike Verschuur, Dutch race car driver
- Kevin Rohle, Adelphi University swimmer
- Seth Pamperin, Carroll University tennis captain
- Will Sheridan, former Villanova basketball star
- Rick Welts, President of the Phoenix Suns
(Thanks to the good folks at OutSports for the list, used by permission.)
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