Washington Wizards center Jason Collins has become the first male athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay.
"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay," Collins wrote in an essay published in Sports Illustrated.
"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."
The essay appears in the May 6, 2013, issue of Sports Illustrated
Collins finished the season with the Wizards and will become a free agent.Read the full story hereThe Civil Right Agenda Responds
"This is obviously an historic moment and Jason Collins' brave act will forever change the landscape of professional sports," said Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda
, the largest Illinois Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocacy organization. "His coming out story is a sign of the acceptance we are seeing in every part of society. We all know there are other gay athletes in professional sports who feel they have to hide in The Closet
, but I hope this will inspire other players to come out and live life authentically."Related: Chicago Fire would welcome Robbie Rogers as first openly gay MLS player