Chilean basketball player Daniel Arcos surprised Instagram this week when he came out as gay in an emotional pride month declaration.
The 26-year-old player posted a three-page letter to his account, discussing his own struggle with his sexuality, and the need for greater queer rights in his native Chile.
“I waited for this day for a long time, a personal challenge with new [rainbow] colors on my shirt, colors that before I looked with shame and that today I decide to wear with pride,” Arcos wrote. “Many days and nights I had recurring thoughts and was tired, so I decided to love and value myself. It was time to move forward. I began to tell my close friends, then my family, always with the fear of being judged. My sister, mother, father and friends all has the same response: “You just have to be happy, I am here for you, the rest does not matter.” These were words that help me forgive everything I have lived in the past and that today give me the courage to write this.”
“I want to be part of the change and build a society in which we treat each other with respect and can be happy,” he continued. “I am willing to face what comes despite the uncertainty that exists with what may happen after publishing this, but I think we are in time to continue moving forward and eliminate closets that should not exist.”
Arcos followed up the letter by posting a picture of himself holding a basketball with a rainbow emoji. “Thank each of the messages of support, signs of affection and respect. The tranquility that I have with myself is incredible. ️ #pride,” the caption read.
Though homosexuality is legal in Chile, queer Chileans still face societal prejudices, as well as lack legal protections surrounding their sexualities and gender identities. A bill that would open the door to marriage equality remains under debate in the legislature.