The world still has a long way to go in terms of completely accepting the LGBTQIA community for who they are. There are some openly gay athletes who chose to accept their true selves and not succumb to societal pressure. Check out five athletes who made a difference in their sport:
Billie Jean King
Billie got married to Larry King in 1965. He introduced her to tennis and the world of feminism. However, only three years into the marriage Billie realised her attraction towards women. In 1971, she had an intimate affair with her secretary and publicly came out in 1981. This acknowledgment made her the first prominent professional female to come out. The environment was still uncertain during that time so she did not specify the extent of her relationship. Billie remained married to Larry King but they eventually called it quits in 1987 when Billie fell in love with her (then) doubles partner and (now) life partner, Ilana Kloss.
Mosier began competing in a triathlon in 2009 as a female. In 2010, publicly self-identified as a transgender man and began the transition process. In 2015, Chris earned a spot on the Team USA sprint duathlon men’s team for the 2016 World Championship. Soon after, Chris challenged the International Olympic Committee’s policy regarding the participation of transgender athletes. He won, resulting in the creation and adoption of new IOC guidelines. He was also the first transgender athlete to feature in a Nike advertisement, which debuted during the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Frederick Douglas Rosser III (or ring name, Darren Young) is a professional wrestler best known for his time with WWE. In an interview released in August 2013, he publicly came out as gay. He is the first professional wrestler ever to publicly come out while still signed to a major promotion. The hunk was showered with many tweets from fellow wrestlers showing support. He told his mother about his sexual orientation in April 2017.
Alex Blackwell plays for New South Wales and Australia women’s cricket team as a specialist batsman. Blackwell came out as a lesbian in 2013, becoming the second international player to come out during their playing career after England’s Steven Davies. She married fellow cricketer Lynsey Askew in England in 2015, a union that was not recognised in Australia until 2017.
Jason Paul Collins is an American retired basketball player who played 13 seasons in the NBA. In the cover story of the 6 May 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated, Jason came out as gay, becoming the first active male athlete from one of the four major North American professional team sports to publicly do so. As of June 2014, Collins was in a relationship with producer Brunson Green.