GMA: Jason Collins, First Gay Professional Athlete
Jason Collins, a professional basketball player with the Washington Wizards, came out to the world as a gay man. He is the first professional athlete still participating in a team sport to have ever come out (Although many people do not know, Glenn Burke, a professional baseball player who played in the late 1970s for the Oakland Athletics, was actually the first professional athlete to come out as being gay. Another tidbit – he also invented the high-five which became a symbol for gay pride).
Collins said he came out to his family one by one and they were the ones who gave him the courage and the support to come out publicly.
Since coming out, Collins, now seen as a pioneering figure in sports, has been getting supportive tweets from Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama and other high profile figures.
Jason Collins Tries To Hide Homosexuality
Collins told Good Morning America he endured years of misery trying to live straight. He lived a lie so well he almost believed it. He was even engaged once but said he called of the wedding because he knew he was getting married for the wrong reasons.
Jason Collins Comes Out To His Aunt First
Collins said the first person he came out to was his aunt. While he said he loves his parents and brother, he feels “something special” with his aunt. They must have something really special between them because when he came out to her, he did not get the response he thought he might. His aunt told him she had known for years he was gay.
“She is a judge in San Francisco so she can read people,” Collins joked.
As for his brother, Jarron, there doesn’t seem to be much twinning going on. His brother had no idea Jason was gay but was supportive from the moment his brother came out. Jason said his brother, who was born eight seconds after him, has always been seen as the little brother but now he is taking on the role of protecting his older brother.
Now that he has come out, he expects the same support he has been getting from his family to pass over into the NBA and to his teammates, he told Good Morning America. He expects to get support from everyone.
“My team is like my family and the NBA is a brotherhood,” said Collins, who didn’t seem worried about possibly being shunned in the league.
Jason Collins Has Known He Was Gay Since 12
Collins told Good Morning America it was around the age of 12 he began to realize he was different than other boys. He knew he was gay when he would listen to rap songs and not be able to connect with his brother when he would talk about the girls in the songs.
Jason Collins told Good Morning America what he really wants to happen from him coming out is for others not to follow in his path or look to him as a barrier breaker. He wants everyone else in the world to make the decisions that make them happy, no matter what they are, and not hide behind a veil.
“I am the happiest I have ever been,” said Collins as he urged others to do what feels right and not what is “acceptable.”