Making history in the professional sports world, Jason Collins came out as gay in Sports Illustrated magazine.
In the May 6 issue, Jason simply opened with, “I”m a 34-year-old NBA center. I”m black. And I”m gay.”
“I didn”t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I”m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn”t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I”m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I”m raising my hand,” the basketball star added.
Collins continued, “It takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret. I”ve endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time. I still had the same sense of humor, I still had the same mannerisms and my friends still had my back.”
After the article published, former President Bill Clinton praised Jason, stating, “I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea”s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason”s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community,” Clinton says in a statement. “It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason”s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.”
Check out Jason”s full interview at Sports Illustrated.