In the days following his coming out, former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam has enjoyed an outpouring of support from current NFL players and fans alike. With this announcement, he will become the first active openly gay male athlete in American professional sports — a major milestone for the LGBT community. Sam is in a position to become an ambassador for the gay community by breaking down stereotypes that perpetuate the notion that gayness and traditional conceptions of masculinity associated with football are mutually exclusive traits. But while this is a great step forward in the realm of men's professional sports, gay female athletes have had a long, and much less publicized, history of similarly groundbreaking progress in fighting for equal rights.
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NBA: Barrier-breaking Collins still awaits next openly gay athlete
Notable athletes who have announced they are gay | FOX Sports
Brittney Griner , the lesbian basketball star who has been praised for being "out and proud," recently revealed that her Baylor University basketball coach Kim Mulkey wanted gay players to keep quiet about their sexuality. During an interview with Maggie Gray of Sports Illustrated, the new Phoenix Mercury player spoke at length about her sexuality, although she stated that she was out since the 9th grade. The basketball player, who recently scored an endorsement deal with Nike , said the "law" was disguised as concern about putting her private life out in the street. It was just kind of one of those things like just don't do it," she explained. Griner, who became the eighth player in Division I history to reach 3, points during her basketball career at Baylor University, said she was asked by Baylor administration to remove a tweet that referred to her sexuality, as the Advocate notes.
Lesbian visibility at Women's World Cup has impact far off the field
By Frank Pingue. Reuters - Jason Collins made history in when he became the first openly gay athlete in one of the four major North American professional sports leagues and the former NBA player wishes more men would follow the trail he helped blaze. A growing number of high-profile Olympic athletes have come out in recent years but Collins said that while the NBA is ready for more openly gay players the tide has simply not turned when it comes to male professional team sports in the United States. After making the courageous decision in May to come out late in his season National Basketball Association career, Collins signed with Brooklyn the following February and played 22 games in a backup role before retiring later that year.
The U. But in countries where homosexuality is still stigmatized, she added, many players probably remain closeted. Gay men in professional soccer have been slower to come out. There are currently only three known openly gay professional male soccer players in the world — Collin Martin of the U. Martin, who plays for the Minnesota United, is the only openly gay player still in the league, and the only out man in any of the big five American sports leagues.