In Quotes

John Amaechi On Why More Gay Olympians Should Come Out

The lack of ‘out’ athletes at the Olympics is embarrassing. It does matter. People have this misconception that time will automatically bring progress, and that homophobia is on the decline. But in certain parts of America things have gone backward. If you’re associated with a word that has so many pejorative connotations — ‘gay’ is routinely used to mean bad, weak, wrong, sinful — it’s going to affect you.”

— Out former NBA player John Amaechi on why more Olympians should pole-vault out of closet, from Business Insider

Photo: Greg Hernandez

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  • Kev C

    Gay athletes aren’t coming out because very few gays are athletes. And that’s due to discrimination and bullying in school, resulting in few gays becoming athletes, or getting support for a career as an athlete. Institutionalized homophobia, not lack of courage, are to blame.

  • M

    John is so back and forth when it comes to this…one interview he’s saying athletes shouldn’t come out, then the next he is.

    Make up your mind!

  • asby

    it seems easy for him to say this now……but i dont remember him coming out when he was a bench player in the nba…he like most…..come out after they become irrelevant…..why would anyone take his advice and come out in the prime of their athletic lives….when he didnt do it himself?

  • MJ (different from the other one)

    @asby: probably because they have a better chance now than he did then?

    I agree with him and think that they should do it, because as long as we still have idiots like Sarah Palin, Rich Santorum, and Michelle Bachmann, and psychopaths like Bryan Fischer, running their moves and spewing bullshit, it’s gonna be even more important to show kids that these guys are liars. and why not now or in a year while support for gay rights is higher than it was back then?

  • LadyL

    @Kev C: But how do we know how many athletes are or are not gay really, since so many are closeted?
    I think lack of courage does play a significant role because the silence fear encourages directly contributes to the perception that there is something wrong with being gay, which in turn provides cover for the bigotry and bullying.

  • Kev C

    @LadyL: How do you know so many are closeted? The fact that they are being asked to come out, would have greater acceptance if they came out today, but aren’t coming out, indicates to me what I know is correct; gay participation in sports is suppressed by society. It is changing, but only just.

  • Kyle412

    He is a hypocrite. He didn’t come out until after his career is over and he was in his late 30s but he expects people 20 years younger than him just starting out in their sport’s careers to come out?

  • James

    I so agree with Kyle412, he is a hypocrite

  • Kieran

    Wow, a whole Queerty article on an openly gay athlete without once making a snarky reference to “her” as a “queen” or “fairy”. Who says we’re not making progress in the fight against homophobic stereotypes?

  • Mason

    And the winner of the “Golden Flip-Flops” is…..

  • kae

    Why should they come out? These athletes are private citizens like the rest of us. Theyre not entertainers or tv presenters or pop stars or movie stars looking for fame and plying their wares; they just want to play their sport and go home; its not their fault that the media want to turn them into celebrities and the corporate world want to use them to sell their products. They’re not at the olympics to talk about their sexuality which will simply distract them from their purpose and create some awful media circus. It would be bizarre indeed and entirely inappropriate if an athlete was suddenly asked by the news/sports presenter track or pool side in the post-match interview “are you gay?” or for the athlete to suddenly come out with it. John Amaechi is such a pompous and arrogant so and so. He didn’t come out until his career was over and now he makes a career out of telling everyone else to come out.

  • anon

    @Mason: ………Mittens Romney, hands down.

  • Mark

    @Kev C: I agree with this. I used to think that many were closeted, but then I have also thought that there is a strong possiblity that there just not many gays in sports to begin with. Especially at the professional level. It’s not the closet, it’s just that many gay men do not participate in sports.

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