Homosexuality is still regarded as somewhat of a taboo in the sports world, but the most famous gay athletes have actively fought against stereotypes and discrimination for the past decades. While in some industries, like the film or music business, promote openness regarding sexual orientation, the athletic world has always been a little more narrow minded in this regard. In fact, in many sport leagues, like the NFL or NBA, it’s still vastly unaccepted to be gay or bisexual and an astounding amount of players have been forced to live an incognito love life in order to maintain their popularity and contracts.
Although athletes fall under the top 6 most respected professions, which we listed in a previous article, the stigma regarding their partners remains active. However, the men and women on this list have opened up about their sexuality, in order to encourage and support the LGBT legal rights movement, and be role models to teenagers and young adults struggling with their identity. So, without further ado, these are the most famous gay athletes.
6. Michael Sam
Michael Sam caught the NFL’s eye in 2013 as the linebacker for the Missouri Tigers and was drafted in 2014 due to his superior skills on the field. However, the football player drew even more attention to him after coming out to his college teammates, who were widely supportive of his sexual orientation. As the first openly gay man in the NFL, Sam is considered somewhat of a pioneer and one of the bravest voices in the league, which has traditionally been unsupportive of homosexuals.
5. Jason Collins
After playing for six of the NBA’s biggest teams and 12 years in the league, Jason Collins wrote a column for Sports Illustrated, announcing that he was gay. The center player is now the first openly gay man in the NBA and regularly attends the gay pride parade, thereby supporting the LGBT community and encouraging other athletes to come out of the closet.