Washington Wizards center Jason Collins has become the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated magazine, Collins wrote:
I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.
I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.
I don't know too much about basketball culture, but I'm assuming this is a pretty big deal. The impact this will have on young people struggling with their sexuality will be immense, and Collins truly is a hero. At some point, major athletes coming out as gay won't be a big deal. But for now it is, and Collins has pushed the gay rights movement another significant step forward.