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Why Are Female Athletes More Comfortable Admitting That They Are Gay Than Male Athletes?

Submitted by on April 19, 2013 – 11:52 amNo Comment

Brittney Griner is gay. She said so herself on Wednesday during an interview with Sports Illustrated. She revealed it while answering a question about why female athletes seem more comfortable admitting to being gay than male athletes.

“I really couldn’t give an answer on why that’s so different,” she said. “Being one that’s out, it’s just being who you are. Again, like I said, just be who you are.”

Great for Brittney. While she’s certainly not the first female athlete to come out and admit that she is gay—in fact, there have been quite a few current female athletes who have done it—it’s a great thing to see that she feels comfortable enough with her sexuality to talk about it with the world. So, why haven’t more of her male counterparts joined her? Why haven’t they felt the need to just be who they are and come out?

The truth is that, in this day and age, it’s more difficult for male athletes to admit that they are gay during their playing days than female athletes. And that’s because so few male athletes have come out. Some guys who played in the past have made the decision to come out and talk about their sexuality once their playing days were over. But no players currently participating in any of the major U.S. sports have come out and admitted that they are gay. Part of that is because no one has felt comfortable enough to do it yet—and part of it is simply because they would automatically be isolated from the rest of their respective league and constantly referred to as “the gay athlete.” In Griner’s situation, her sexuality will make headlines for a few days and then fade into the background once she starts playing in the WNBA. But the first male athlete who comes out will have to answer questions about his sexuality for the rest of his career.

Eventually, it will happen. Maybe not this year or next year or anytime within the next ten years. But, eventually, a male athlete will come out and admit that he is gay. And, when he does, we hope he follows Griner’s lead. We hope that he does it in an effort to prove that he just wants to “be who he is.” And we hope that he gets celebrated just like Griner is getting celebrated right now.

For now, we all just need to sit back and wait for him to be comfortable enough to come out. Like we said, eventually it will happen. But we get the idea that that moment may still be a few years away.

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