Slam dunk

Professional basketball star Sebastián Vega comes out as gay

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A seguir!!!

A post shared by Seba Vega – Monoco (@sebavega_7) on


A star basketball player in Argentina has come out as gay. Sebastián Vega, 31, plays for Gimnasia de Comodoro. The team plays in the country’s top league.

The 6’7″ athlete came out by publishing a letter on his social media last week, becoming the first professional basketball player in the country to reveal themselves as gay.

Vega grew up in Gualeguaychu, about 125 miles north of Buenos Aires. In the letter, he talks about struggling to accept his sexuality. He recounts trying dating a girl and trying to live a “straight life”, but over time, he couldn’t escape his feelings for men.

“And then I met who would become my partner for the next six years.”

Related: First openly gay athlete to play in NCAA basketball tournament’s history

On meeting that partner, he decided he had to tell his family. He said he was “terrified” of telling his father, and assumed he’d be asked to leave home. However, to his surprise, his parents were accepting and supportive.

“They showed me that nothing was going to change, that things would remain the same. That my sexual orientation would not change my personal situation, what I was (and am) as a person.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Ganas de ☀️

A post shared by Seba Vega – Monoco (@sebavega_7) on

He says he was coming out now to help others in the same situation.

This week, in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Vega described coming out as liberating.

“I was really scared, but the fear didn’t paralyze me. I felt truly free: it had been a long time since I’d walked without such a heavy weight on my shoulders.”

Related: WATCH: College basketball star has a bootylicious secret weapon

Although Argentina has progressive laws around LGBTQ rights, within society, conservative attitudes toward sexuality and gender norms persist.

“Unfortunately, (homosexuality in sport) is still a taboo topic,” said Vega. “It’s very difficult to say you’re gay…you have to be masculine to not be (seen as) less than.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Seba Vega – Monoco (@sebavega_7) on

Vega says his teammates have all been very supportive since he came out, with some apologizing for past homophobic comments they’d made.

“The most beautiful thing of all is that nothing has changed – on the contrary, it has changed for the better,” he said. “We formed a stronger bond.”

He also posted thanks on his social media, “for the infinite messages of affection and respect that I have received … I’m touched.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Holbox

A post shared by Seba Vega – Monoco (@sebavega_7) on