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Top 15 Athletes That Have Come Out

The act of coming out is often perceived as something a bit nerve wracking or frightening. While society as a whole is increasingly growing more accepting of different sexualities, there are still many countries where coming out as gay or lesbian makes life extremely difficult. Another area where coming out is relatively uncommon is within the world of sports. In the past few years in particular, athletes have been opening up and coming out in increasingly large numbers. However, it’s still a touchy subject – many athletes decide not to come out until after they are retired, perhaps because they fear it will somehow affect their career, their potential sponsorships, etc. Other athletes are becoming increasingly brave and stepping out proudly, wanting to give a good example for young fans everywhere around the world.

While the act of coming out is a big deal for every individual, athletes are under particular scrutiny. For many athletes, they face rumors and speculation for years before they make the decision to be honest with the public about their sexuality. Other athletes use their public platform, coming out in press interviews, television appearances, or exclusive magazine and newspaper stories.

Though many leagues and professional sports have relatively small numbers of openly gay athletes, the fifteen athletes on this list have all come out of the closet and proudly declared their sexuality to the public.

15 15. Thomas Hitzlsperger

via wallpaper-download.net

14 14. Gus Johnston

via smh.com.au

13 13. Tom Daley

via thirdyearabroad.com

12 12. Ian Thorpe

via newnownext.com

11 11. Johnny Weir

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

10 10. Wade Davis

via charlestoncitypaper.com

9 9. Billy Bean

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

8 8. Orlando Cruz

via zimbio.com

7 7. Megan Rapinoe

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

6 6. Robbie Rogers

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

5 5. Martina Navratilova

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

4 4. Gareth Thomas

via theguardian.com

3 3. Brittney Griner

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2 2. Jason Collins

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

1 1. Michael Sam

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Football player Michael Sam is perhaps the athlete who has received the most media attention lately for his decisions to publicly identify as a gay man. His decision to kiss his boyfriend on camera when he found out he was drafted into the NFL sparked an outpour of reactions, both positive and negative. He was eventually cut by the St. Louis Rams and his decision to be honest from the outset, even before he was drafted, has led many to speculate whether his sexuality played a role in his getting cut from the league. While many others have argued that he merely didn’t have the requisite skill for the NFL, Sam’s career trajectory has definitely sparked many conversations about sexuality in the sports world.

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Top 15 Athletes That Have Come Out