Derrick Gordon, a sophomore starter for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team, has come out as gay, making him the first openly gay male NCAA Division 1 basketball player.
"I've always loved sports, but always felt I had to hide and be someone that I'm not. For my whole life I've been living my life as a lie. I am telling my story so that athletes never feel like they have to hide. You can be true to yourself and play the sport that you love."
“We’re all here together, and we need to love each other for who we are. One of your family members, your brother, wants to let you know something about himself.”
Derrick then came out to the team, and one of them instantly spoke up and said, "We got you; you're one of us." And then they took Derrick to dinner.
Derrick says he was inspired to come out after the NBA signed its first openly gay player, Jason Collins:
"That was so important to me, knowing that sexuality didn't matter, that the NBA was OK with it. [But] it was a rough process, actually, leading up to this. Those guys [Collins and Michael Sam] just helped me get to where I am right now. If it wasn’t for them, I’d be stuck. For this to be happening right now, me coming out, it’s an indescribable feeling, honestly. I couldn’t be any happier. I feel like I can fly.”
Gordon has said that while he will focus on basketball, he also wants to help encourage more openness in sports:
"When kids aren't able to come out, I know why. It's a scary thing. That's one of the reasons I'm doing this. I want to give kids some courage and someone they can look up to. If I can come out and play basketball, then why can't they do it? I want to be able to help those people."
His coach seems to think he’ll go great things:
"I'm proud of him for coming out, I think it's really courageous what he's doing. He's talking about saving people's lives. Who doesn't want a kid like that on their team?"
Who wouldn’t want someone like that in your life?
Welcome out, Derrick, and please accept as our gift to you, the Obligatory Coming Out Toaster Oven and your very own copy of The Gay Agenda.