There are plenty of celebrities who have LGBT children, but what about their athletic counterparts? Because athletes have LGBT kids too. So, just because athletes are considered more “masculine” than the average crowd, doesn’t mean they can avoid seeing rainbows along the uneven road of parenthood.
No one plans to have an LGBT kid as a person’s sexual orientation is something the person was born with and might not be able to change unless if they first came out as bisexual or bicurious. While this statement may or may not be true, we can always discuss this debatable topic at another time.
The LGBT community in sports culture has come a long way since the 1970s and maybe even before that. The fact there are LGBT athletes who have openly came out of the closet, straight allies who support their LGBT friends and families, and even straight athletes who have LGBT kids who weren’t afraid to share their sexuality. From Hong Kong-based martial artist and stunt man Jackie Chan to NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, we’re sure you’ll recognize some of these athletes who just happened to become parents to queer kids. Whether or not their relationship has improved or worsened is none of our business, but these athletes’ kids are still brave to express themselves, so we can see their true colors and not what they pretend to be.
Here are 15 athletes who have LGBT kids.
15. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson shocked the world when he announced he was HIV positive in a press conference in November 7, 1991. Johnson, a high-profile Los Angeles Lakers player, finished his NBA career on a strong note with five NBA championships, three NBA Finals MVP awards, three NBA MVP awards, 12 NBA All-Star appearances and 10 All-NBA First and Second Team nominations.
You may not know about Magic’s gay son E.J. though. E.J. was publicly exposed by the mainstream media in 2013. Despite the constant attention, Magic and his wife, Cookie, continued to be supportive of E.J. Magic also had the talk with E.J. about being safe when it comes to sex. Given that Magic was diagnosed with HIV after being uninformed of the risks of not using protection, you can imagine why he made sure to warn his kids.
14. Rosevelt Colvin
You might recall Rosevelt Colvin is a linebacker and a two-time Super Bowl champion for the XXXVIII and XXXIX games, but did you know his son Xavier is openly gay?
In this picture, Xavier preached equality by wearing a Nike t-shirt with the single word “equality.” There aren’t many players in college football who have admitted their sexuality either. So let’s pay our respect to him for coming out of the closet to the Butler Bulldogs football team in September 2017.
“I have yet to encounter anyone on the team, on campus or in my life who has been super negative about it,” Xavier told Indy Star. “And obviously, you have to be prepared for that because you can’t please everyone. But as of this moment, I have no regrets about it.”
13. Isiah Thomas
Isiah Thomas is a Hall of Fame point guard who played for the Detroit Pistons from 1981 to 1994. The 12-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA champion (1989, 1990) was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history and then inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He has also served as a coach, an executive and a broadcaster.
Thomas deserves all the praise he can get. He and his gay DJ son, Joshua, have posed for the NOH8 campaign and showed their support towards same-sex marriage and equality for all. In case you didn’t know, the NOH8 campaign in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8 in California in 2008. While Thomas wasn’t always the most universally liked player in the NBA, he got plenty of support from his peers for this cause.
12. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is one of the most marketed athletes in the history of professional sports. Jordan has a net worth of nearly $1.4 billion. He has achieved a large amount of success on and off the court as a six-time NBA champion, six-time NBA Finals MVP, five-time NBA MVP, 14-time NBA All-Star member and three-time NBA All-Star Game MVP as well as a longtime spokesman for popular brands such as Gatorade, Nike, Chevrolet, Wheaties and Hanes.
MJ’s daughter, Jasmine, has been a hot topic among celebrity gossip websites. However, she hasn’t identified her sexuality at all. She did write about how she doesn’t mind the attention she has been getting these days, but she would like everyone following her to keep things positive.
Jasmine once had a brief lesbian affair in 2013, but according to SandraRose.com, MJ is reportedly ecstatic that his oldest daughter is dating men again.
11. Jana Navratilova
Jana Navratilova is an accomplished gymnast, tennis player and ski instructor from Czechslovakia (now Czech Republic). Navratilova was married to ski instructor Mirek Subert and had their first child, a daughter named Martina Navratilova, but divorced when Navratilova was just three years old. Subert remarried and divorced, but ultimately committed suicide when Navratilova was eight years old.
Despite the adversity she had to overcome, Navratilova began to play tennis and eventually became a professional tennis player like her mother. She won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 major women’s doubles titles and 10 major mixed doubles titles.
Off the court, Navratilova became a U.S. citizen in 1981 and subsequently came out as bisexual in an interview with New York Daily News reporter Steve Goldstein. She reiterated her bisexuality in an interview with Dallas Morning News columnist Skip Bayless. She then identified herself as a lesbian.
10. Vilem Mandlik
On the topic of tennis players, let’s take a look at Vilem Mandlik, an Olympic 200 meter semifinalist representing Czechoslovakia in 1956. Mandlik is the father of Czechoslovakian tennis player Hana Mandlikova, who was born in 1962.
Mandlikova married Australian restaurateur Jan Sedlak in Prague in 1986, but the couple divorced two years later. Mandlikova still obtained Australian citizenship from the marriage. Mandlikova gave birth to twins Mark Vilem and Elisabeth Hana in 2001. Their father didn’t want to have anything to do with the twins, so Mandlikova has been raising her kids with her female partner Sydney Billier, who’s also a tennis player. They’re one of the few LGBT couples in the world of tennis.
9. Ernest Delle Donne
Ernest Delle Donne may be more known for his entrepreneurship and real estate development, but something you might not have known was he played college golf back in the day.
Ernest is the father of a daughter named Elena, who was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Elena was selected by the WNBA’s Chicago Sky with the second overall pick in the first round of the 2013 draft. She played for the Sky from 2013 to 2016. She apparently decided to play for a team (Washington Mystic) closer to her hometown, which is perfectly fine.
8. Ken Thorpe
Remember when Ian Thorpe became the youngest male ever to represent Australia? That’s right. Ian is a former freestyle swimmer who has won five Olympic gold medals, three gold medals and two silver medals. He was named Australian Swimmer of the Year from 1999 to 2003.
Ian wasn’t the only athletic person in his family though. His father Ken was a junior cricketer who represented Bankstown District Cricket Club in Sydney’s district competition. His mother Margeret played A-grade netball. His older sister Christina was a swimmer.
Ian also publicly came out as gay after years of denying his sexuality. He told ABC News: “I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man. And I don’t want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.” He added: “I am telling the world that I am gay…and I hope this makes it easier for others now, and even if you’ve held it in for years, it feels easier to get it out.”
7. Lamont Denson
There has been a lot of talk about gay baseball prospect David Denson, but did you know he’s not the only athlete in his family? That’s right. His father, Lamont, is a former athlete. His older sister, Celestine, is a professional dancer.
In 2015, David became the first active minor league player to publicly come out as gay. Despite his success with the Milwaukee Braves’ MiLB team, the coming out process wasn’t always easy for him. He admitted his sexuality to his mother and sister before confessing to his father and his large group of friends.
Lamont is a Baptist, but he accepted David with open arms. “He finally broke down and said, ‘Dad I need to talk to you,'” Lamont told The New York Times. “That’s when he explained to me how he felt. I told him: ‘Son, with today’s world, it’s really changed. You’ve got same-sex marriage and everything that’s going on. If this is how you feel, I’m going to always love you.’ That’s my son. I’m backing him 100 percent.” Way to go, Lamont!
6. Marcelo Mayssei
Brazilian handball goalkeeper Mayssa Pessoa was born to a family of intellectuals. Her father Marcelo Mayssei is a professor, however, he has competed in handball, beach handball, basketball and futsal (a variation of association football) when he was younger. Marcelo had a good run in the world of sports before his career came to an end.
Mayssei is the father of Mayssa, who’s one of the three daughters he had with a female lawyer. Mayssa plays for Rostov-Don and the Brazilian national team. She publicly came out as a lesbian and was one of nearly two dozen LGBT athletes who competed during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. She’s had some difficulties in her career due to her sexuality, but it looks like they’re behind her now.
5. Jimmy Robinson
Jimmy Robinson has worked in the NFL for the majority of his life. Jimmy began his professional career as a wide receiver who has played for the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos. Following his retirement, Jimmy served as a wide receivers coach for the Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers (who he won Super Bowl XLV with), New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Memphis Showboats (of the United States Football League).
Off the field, Jimmy apparently realized there were more important things than American football. Just hours before the Giants’ practice in the a.m., Jimmy found his wife Karen sobbing next to his son Jim.
“I’m gay,” Jim revealed. “I’m sorry, dad.”
Karen continued to cry, but Jimmy did his best to calm her down.
“Karen,” Jimmy said, “you need to settle down.”
Jimmy then reassured his son after a family discussion on sexuality.
“Jim, you have nothing to be sorry about,” Jimmy told Jim. “You’re gay because that’s how God made you.”
Just weeks later, Jim traveled to Atlanta as an incoming freshman at Georgia Tech, his dad’s alma mater, where he made a name for himself as a wide receiver. Jimmy was worried about his son’s safety, but later shared Jim’s sexual orientation. This opened up conversations on acceptance his family never anticipated.
Now retired from playing and coaching football, Jimmy hopes to build acceptance of LGBTQ people in and out of sports. Keep on doing your thing, Jimmy!
4. Mary Richardson
Mary Richardson isn’t a household name in the states, but she’s a former Latin American dance champion. Richardson is the mother (now stepmother) of professional dancer Ian Waite, who also specializes in Latin American dance. Waite initially learned how to dance from his mom, who put him through a rigorous medalist regime.
One of Waite’s biggest accomplishments is appearing in six of seven series on the BBC’s hit show Strictly Come Dancing. Waite has built up a following of dedicated fans and has become a highly respected public figure in the world of dance in spite of his sexual orientation (gay). Waite married his fiance Drew Merriman on July 22, 2017.
3. Gene Gillis
The late Gene Gillis, a U.S. Olympic skier, and Rhonda Wurtele, a Canadian Olympic skier, had a daughter named Margie and two sons named Christopher and Jere. Jere played in the NHL from 1977 to 1987 while Christopher and Margie decided to become dancers and choreographers.
The couple had no idea how much of an impact Christopher would have on the world of dance as he was a prominent dancer who was a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York City, where he was assigned as Taylor’s heir apparent. He also came out as gay during his successful dance career. He passed away at the age of 42 due to complications from AIDS.
2. Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan is best known for his innovative stunts in action movies like Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2, Rush Hour 3, The Karate Kid and Police Story. But let’s not forget his martial arts knowledge ranging from karate to judo. This is why he has been acting since the 1960s and has appeared in over 150 movies.
Chan had a daughter named Etta with actress and Miss Asia 1990 winner Elaine Ng in 1999. Ng decided she would take care of Etta without Chan, which was perfectly fine. Although she is Chan’s estranged daughter, Etta has made headlines across the world after she came out as a lesbian in an Instagram post in October 2017.
1. Buddy Schwimmer
You can go on and on about how dance isn’t a sport, but in our opinion, dance is indeed a sport because it requires skills and physical prowess’s just like any other sport.
With that being said, Buddy Schwimmer is a West Coast Swing dancer and choreographer who’s credited with inventing the Nightclub Two-Step in the 1960s. Buddy has two children, a son named Benji and a daughter named Lacey. Both kids have competed in FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance, but Benji has arguably stolen the show from his younger sister.
Since 2006, Benji has been called the “Prince of Swing” after his father. He’s an eight-time U.S. Showcase champion of West Coast Swing. He also won season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance. In addition, he publicly came out as gay in 2012 and mentioned the catalyst behind his decision was the suicide death of three gay friends.
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