Being openly gay in the athletic world has never truly been easy for anyone, regardless of what sort they play. When you are thrust into the professional spotlight, it can make the scrutiny and judgment that much worse as you not only have to answer to your teammates, but the world as well.
Coming out in 2018 is remarkably a lot easier than it was 10-15 years ago, as there have been several large and small steps taken to enhance our visibility in the world and for millions of people to preach tolerance instead of hate as a result. This has also affected the world of sports, where many gay men have made the decision to openly come out and received adoration and support from millions of people for their decision.
There will always be haters (as there is with anything), however these men really went out of their way and put their own lives at risk in terms of the ridicule and hatred they were going to receive so that others can come out and feel comfortable in doing so. It's always good to have someone to look up to, and these men definitely broke the mold when it came to authentically being yourselves no matter what environment you are in.
Here is a list of eight gay men who came out during their time as a professional athlete. Kudos to them and then some.
Greg Louganis: Diving
Michael Sam: Football
Darren Young: Professional Wrestling
Gareth Thomas: Rugby
Gus Kenworthy: Freestyle Skier
Adam Rippon: Figure Skating
Jason Collins: Basketball
Ian Thorpe: Swimming