Professional sports can be a particularly world in which to be openly gay. A lot of homophobia remains today in many major sports, but several athletes have become LGBT trail blazers. Gay athletes have had successful careers in basketball, tennis, and football. and several Olympians have also become gay icons. This list features the greatest gay icons in sports.
Who is the most famous gay icon in sports? David Beckham, while not gay himself, has stated that he is proud to be a gay icon. WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes announced that she was gay in 2005 and multiple NBA stars and professional soccer players are seen as gay icons as well.
There is a growing list of Olympians who are also gay athletic icons. Olympic diver Greg Louganis, figure skater Johnny Weir, soccer player Megan Rapinoe, and German track and field star Balian Buschbaum are all openly gay.Who do you think are the greatest gay icons in sports? Cast your votes below.
Soccer player Robbie Rogers announced he was gay in 2013. He stated, "Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined."
Birthplace: Rancho Palos Verdes, California, United States of America
Volleyball player and "Survivor" contestant J.P. Calderon is openly gay. He and his partner Julz Heaney got engaged in 2013.
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States of America
Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham publicly came out in 2008. He has stated, "I don’t see sexuality as influencing my beliefs or opinions or perceptions of anybody, whether they’re gay, straight, bi, trans, experimental, I don’t care. I see it as a very uninfluential factor in people."
Birthplace: Coopers Plains, Australia
Tennis great Martina Navratilova came out publicly in 1981. She is an outspoken advocate for gay rights.
Birthplace: Prague, Czech Republic