Sporting Pioneers - 5 openly gay sportsmen
In light of Andy Brennan recently coming out as the first openly gay Australian Footballer we are looking at the seven biggest sports stars who are also out and proud. Brennan described his closeted homosexuality as "an emotional burden" a feeling that we're sure most who have been in that position have felt. He wrote on an Instagram post that "
It’s taken me years to get comfortable saying this - I’m gay. I was scared it would affect my friendships, my teammates, and my family. But the support of the people around me has been so great and helped me get to the final step; being completely open.
Being open is the best way for me to feel most comfortable and be myself. So… carry on!" Amazing an inspirational words from the former Newcastle Jets player.
So, without further adieu let's delve into some of the gay sportsmen alumni that Brennan joins...
Jason Collins was a pro basketball player who during his tenure as an NBA star adorned the jersey of the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets respectively. Standing at a jaw dropping 7 foot the big man was renowned for his strength, blocking and unsurprisingly his ability to get to a rebound earlier than the majority of other players.
In 2016 Jason Collins was the cover star of Sports Illustrated magazine May issue, it was in the cover story where he came out as a gay man to journalist Franz Lidl. In the bare-all interview he stated that although he is a homosexual he did not want to go into details about his relationships and personal life - which we totally respect in an era where everyone wants to know every last detail about queer celebs. To further add to the respect we have for this man he also revealed that he wears the number 98 to honour a man who died of a hate crime in 1998. Fellow NBA star Kobe Bryant supported his coming out alongside Barack and Michelle Obama.
We know you know this one. Remember when Tom Daley was just coming up as Britains next best olympian and both guys and girls would swoon over this speedo-wearing adonis? Tom Daley had become a poster boy for the now infamous 2012 London olympics and was one of the hottest properties in British Sports ever. He went on with his fellow Olympians went on to gain the most medals that team GB have ever achieved in an Olympic Games before with his input of a bronze in diving.
So naturally after the olympics Daley fever had spread across the country and everyone was wondering the same thing: how is this guy single? Then in 2013 it all became clear. On his YouTube channel he uploaded a video titled "Something I want to say" where the chiseled-body athlete revealed that he had been in a relationship with a man called Lance Black (lucky guy) for a year. Fast forward to 2019 and Tom is now happily married to Lance Black and they're expecting a child later this year.
Gareth Thomas is a Welsh Rugby giant (literally, he stands at 6'3) as he represented his national team for both union and league and during his career became their most capped player until 2011. Some of the great achievements he reached include winning the Heineken Cup in 2005, scoring a hat-trick in the Six Nations final and captaining Wales in the World Cup.
In 2009 Thomas came out as gay. He told the Daily Mail, "I don't want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player, first and foremost I am a man". Well said Gareth! Gareth since coming out as a gay man has become a brand ambassador for UK Charity Childline in order to support young men who come out and are struggling, for his pro LGBT endeavours he received Stonewalls Hero of The Year award and was voted Most Influential Gay Person in the UK on the IoS Pink List in 2009.
Greg Louganis, another diver. Louganis is renowned as many sport experts and fans as the greatest diver to ever grace the sport. Some of his many accolades include 5 olympic medals (4 gold), California Sports Hall of Fame and ABC's athlete of the year 1989.
Louganis' life outside of the pool has been incredibly interesting also as he has has survived contracting HIV, rediscovered his biological parents and is a famous LGBT rights activist. On top of these amazing feats he has even made various film appearances!
Louganis has been out for the majority of his career, which has led him to being one of the most celebrated gay athletes of all time and certainly up there with the most famous.