Openly Gay athletes of America and their impact on the LGBTQ Community

While the trend of coming out caught up athletes on 2013-14, it has slowly died down - slowing down the process of media awareness and social acceptance

Michael Sams, the first openly gay athlete of America
Michael Sams, the first openly gay athlete of America

The LGBTQ community in America received a significant boost in their recognition between 2013 and 2014 when several sports personalities publicly came out and identified with being gay or lesbian.

Outsports, a website founded in 1999 by Jim Buzinski and Cyd Zeigler shares personal experience among athletes including gays and lesbians in sports who announce their sexuality. It has a regular schedule of revealing the LGBT members in the sports industry and creates motivation among many players, especially in the low-level profiles, to come out of the closet. Scouring all media, Outsports keeps the best count that it can of athletes, coaches and sports administrators who come out publicly each year. Here are the numbers – in 2013, 77; in 2014, 109; in 2015, 105; and in 2016, 171.

Many superstar gay athletes in the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL refrain from coming out of the closet and fail the role of playing a role model to the gay community that would motivate more lesbians and gays to feel free.

Some people link the reduced open confession among high-profile gay athletes to the dropping of Michael Sam by Rams and the Dallas Cowboys. But Sam’s unfortunate predicament and inability to find a pro team points to talent issues rather than being gay.

This is proven by the fact that McAvoy, who announced that he was gay after Sam’s announcement never received any discriminating treatment after joining Sam’s former team after his dismissal. McAvoy, however, claims that coming out could be detrimental to college athletes as they face more social pressures.

Other sources including a top freelance journalist in the sports world claim that the count of gay and lesbian athletes in Division 1 has dropped. The number of the members of the LGBT community was 46 at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year to a half by the end of the year. The number of searches on the gay athlete’s personalities or lesbian athletes is also dropping sharply by day. The number of results reached a peak at 35,047 in 2013 but dropped to 26,430 by last year, with early results indicating another likely decline in 2017.