Argentinian basketball player Sebastián Vega is making history.
In a recent interview with Reuters, the professional basketballer came out as gay. Though, the athlete shares that it wasn’t an easy road to get to this point.
“When I started to feel attracted to a man, I had a very bad time,” he said. “I felt shame, guilt, a lot of rejection, but at the same time the desire to be with someone.”
“As parents, their greatest fear was that you might suffer … because of your sexual orientation,” he added.
Then when he decided to come out, Vega said he was full of fear. Despite that though, he knew he had to do it.
“I was really scared, but the fear didn’t paralyze me. I felt truly free: it had been a long time since I’d walked without such a heavy weight on my shoulders.”
Thankfully, Vega came out in a fairly accepting country. When it comes to LGBTQ rights in Argentina, the county is very open. Same-sex marriage came to the country back in 2010, which made it the first Latin American country to legalize marriage equality. On top of that, Argentina has banned conversion therapy and “has one of the world’s most comprehensive transgender rights laws,” according to the Washington Blade.
Despite all that tough, homophobia still instills a repressive atmosphere around the world of sports.
“It’s very difficult to say you’re gay…you have to be masculine to not be (seen as) less than,” he explained. Thankfully, Vega says his teammates were not only accepting but apologetic for using homophobic slurs in the past.
“The most beautiful thing of all is that nothing has changed – on the contrary, it has changed for the better. We formed a stronger bond.”
He added: “If I had (come out) five or six years ago, I don’t know if society would’ve been ready. People are becoming more aware.
“It might help things to keep getting better. So that in the not too distant future, being gay is no longer news.”