It’s a truly historic day today for the LGBT community.
Thirty-four year old, NBA center Jason Collins has come out. By doing so, Collins is the first openly gay athlete in a major professional sport.
Collins, a free agent, has played on the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics in this past season had this to say in his editorial for Sports Illustrated: “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. When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.”
As to why he chose to address his sexuality know Collins said that he was partly inspired by the Boston Marathon bombings, saying that “it takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret”.
Already there is support for Collins’ coming out from NBA commissioner David Stern who said: “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”