Derrick Gordon Becomes First Openly Gay Div. I College Basketball Player

1387420775000-AP-UMass-Ohio-BasketballIn what has quickly become The Year of the Gay Athlete, University of Massachusetts sophomore Derrick Gordon announced that he is gay this morning, making him the first openly gay player in Division I men’s college basketball.

Gordon told ESPN that he was inspired to come out to his family, coaches, and teammates after watching the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Jason Collins becoming the first openly gay man in the NBA.

“That was so important to me,” he said of the first time Jason Collins entered the court, receiving a standing ovation, “knowing that sexuality didn’t matter, that the NBA was OK with it.”

“I just didn’t want to hide anymore, in any way,” Gordon told ESPN. “I didn’t want to have to lie or sneak. I’ve been waiting and watching for the last few months, wondering when a Division I player would come out, and finally I just said, ‘Why not me?’”

Gordon’s coming-out has apparently been a year in the making — he says he contacted Wade Davis, executive director at You Can Play, about a year ago and began making connections that have been “instrumental” to his process.

“He’s like a little brother to me,” Davis said. “I’ve watched him grow into a confident young man who is ready to be a leader on and off the court. His fearless desire to be his authentic self and his personal story of triumph will inspire others and continue to expand consciousness.”

Gordon says immediately after he came out, one of his teammates said “We got you, you’re one of us.”

This morning, out NFL hopeful Michael Sam also offered his congratulations on Twitter:

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  • NG22

    I am so proud of Derrick. If there’s even the smallest chance he sees this, I want him to know just how proud and thrilled I am. This has been a tremendous year of progress in sports, and that’s something that even non-sports-fans can appreciate.

    Furthermore, I’m proud of Wade Davis, who is doing tremendous work at You Can Play. He has one success after another, and it’s a joy to behold.

    I’m always happy when public figures of any color come out, but as an openly gay black man (or openly black gay man), there’s been an even deeper reserve of pride and emotion over the last year or so. Black men in the public eye are finally coming out. And everyone is supporting them. It means the world to me. I feel like we’re moving on as a community, and I feel like all of these black athletes are so brave (to take nothing away from brave athletes of other backgrounds).

    Keep up the good work, everyone. Today is a good day.

  • jimmy10

    You have my standing ovation right now!! We are all so proud of you!!
    What a leader you are!! Good luck, my man.

  • Kieran

    This is the homophobes worst nightmare coming true. Star college athletes coming out gay and proud. No longer prisoners living under the stigma, shame and intimidation of gay stereotypes. Every brave athlete like Derrick Gordon that comes out is another hammer blow to the crumbling edifice of homophobia.

  • ChiChi Man

    I’m so proud of Jason Collins, Michael Sam and now Derrick Gordon for challenging stereotypes based on masculinity and race. But I also have to tip my hat to another man of color – President Obama. The President’s support of the LGBT community has been instrumental in increasing LGBT acceptance within the African American community.

  • OrchidIslander

    @ChiChi Man: I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m glad any time someone of positive notoriety and celebrity comes out. Even more so when it is men of color. It sends a huge message to struggling kids and conservative communities at large.

    Stereotype buster indeed. Chipping away at notions that say gays and sports are incompatiable and that gay and black is somehow not a man. Most of us know better, but the amount of ignorance out there is still appalling.

    Obama’s influence is undeniable.

    By the way, where is Jason and his take on the black community’s virulent homophobia in response to black atheles being a big part of the national conversation?

  • LubbockGayMale

    Yet another fine young male setting a great example for all. Congratulations, and bravo for showing yourself to the world in this manner!

  • Black Pegasus

    Good for you young brother! Give em hell!

  • mydude

    Another one comes out.


    Who’s next?

  • Curtispsf

    Well done Derrick. It took a lot of courage, but standing in the light and being true to yourself and others is the ultimate reward. Whenever another “first timer” comes out, it makes it easier for others to follow. And I always remember that each of us stands on the shoulders of giants who have come before us when it wasn’t so easy to live life openly.

    Now some straight folks will no doubt start saying, “I support gay people but do they have to keep telling the world, making a big thing or a spectacle about their sexual preference? After all, you don’t see straight guys announcing that they’re straight”.

    There are so many things to be said in reply, but I’ll say just this: “Yes, LGBTQ people need to keep coming out publicly until the day equality is reached and one’s sexual preference/identity is no longer relevant under the eyes of the law and in people’s hearts and minds.

    As Harvey Milk said “Come out, come out wherever you are”…Oh yeah, thank you drag queens for being the spark that set the fire in 1969.

  • Curtispsf

    Oh yeah, I forgot one other thing. Derrick, you’re a hottie and a cutey pie!!

  • cantstopme

    This is great news! :-)

  • tjr101

    He has a lot of courage and I wish him all the best. He has my support and I am sure the full support of the gay community!

  • Mezaien

    Good for you babe, AND if anyone don`t like it!? send them to suck eggs.

  • Kangol

    @ChiChi Man:

    Right with you on Jason Collins, Michael Sam, this young man Derrick Gordon, and our president, who has been the most supportive, pro-LGBT US President in our history! Let’s keep this training rolling, and I wish the very best for Derrick Gordon and all the other athletes and all of us, of all races, genders, and class backgrounds, to live without oppression or hatred because of our race, gender, class OR sexual orientation!

  • Blackceo


    I totally agree. So much pride in this young man and very amazing the impact that Collins, Sam, and now Gordon will have on continuing to challenge people’s perceptions on homosexuality when it comes to race.


    What a delightful, charming, well-sorted young man. I wish him a wonderful future and a happy life. He can only be a great role model for lads of his age, and someone every homophobe should be fearful of.

  • sejjo

    Yep, it’s happening. The dominoes are falling. It’s the snowball effect. Pretty soon, we’ll be everywhere. Oh wait, we already are everywhere.

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