As you may recall, it was just a few years ago that Jason Collins, the former NBA star basketball player, came out publicly. Well, we have now learned that before he told the rest of us, he confided in Hillary Clinton and let her know that he was gay.
During at speech at the Democratic National Convention, Collins explained: “My dream was to play in the NBA and live my authentic life as a proud gay man at the same time. I was able to accomplish both of those goals because of the people who have supported me throughout my life. Before I came out to the world on the cover of Sports illustrated, I came out privately to the Clinton family. I have known their family for almost 20 years. I knew that they would accept me for who I was; and that they would help pave a path for others to do the same. I am forever grateful for their words of wisdom back then and their unconditional support.”
Collins continued: “They know that my sexual orientation made no difference in my ability to play basketball, just as someone’s gender makes no difference in his or her ability to lead our nation. Hillary has befriended the LGBT community for years, from co-sponsoring the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to helping pass the first ever UN resolution on LGBT human rights, to making sure transgender individuals’ passports could reflect their true gender. As both an African-American and a member of LGBT community, the choice for continued progress is clear.”
The former professional athlete retired in 2014, but his decision to come out publicly on the cover of Sport Illustrated will (hopefully) have a lasting positive effect on the intersection of LGBT equality and sports.