Billy Bean played major league baseball from 1987 through 1995. He broke into the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers, and tied a major league record with 4 hits in his first major league game. He went on to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the San Diego Padres. Born in Santa Ana, California in 1964. He was a multi-sport star at Santa Ana High School, where he was chosen "athlete of the year" as a senior. He was selected Valedictorian of his graduating class, and went on to become an "All-America" outfielder twice before graduating from Loyola Marymount University in 1986 with a degree in Business Administration.
After years of living secretly, Billy came out publicly in 1999. His story was front- page news in the New York Times, and subsequently on a nationally televised story with Diane Sawyer as well. He is the first major league baseball player in 20 years to acknowledge his homosexuality. He has been working actively to try and dispel the myth and stereotypes that follow people of diversity. He was a featured spokesman on behalf of the Democratic National Committee during campaign 2000, and still travels around the country on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign, reaching out to many young adults.
Billy walked away from his baseball career in 1996, in part, because of the sudden death of his former partner, and the frustration of holding onto that secret alone. His desire not to let that happen to anyone else pushes him to share his story.
"I believe that all people, regardless of their personal belief, or religious background, would agree that being honest with yourself, your family, and those around you, is a great foundation for living your life. It has been a long, hard journey for me, and I want people to learn from my mistakes, not share them."
Billy lives in Miami Beach with his partner of 7 years, Efrain Veiga. They share a real estate business together redeveloping residential properties. Billy also starred in an episode of Arli$$ on HBO, and has finished his first book, 'Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life in and out of Major-League Baseball'
. Billy, still devoted to the pursuit of physical fitness, is an avid runner, and a self proclaimed tennis and basketball nut.
This article originally appeared in Temenos (www.temenos.net
), the progressive lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and intersex community online.