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Top 15 Athletes Who Shockingly Came Out Of The Closet

It's 2016, a time of great social progression and acceptance. And, as such, more and more people are finding that they are comfortable expressing their sexuality. It used to be that professional athletes had to hide their sexual orientations in order to avoid the scorn and ridicule of fans and even teammates. Glenn Burke, for example, the first MLB player to come out as gay to his teammates, was never given a fair chance in the league despite being touted as the next Willie Mays. He received limited playing time, was often shunned by teammates, and had to endure derogatory terms being thrown at him by his own manager. Ultimately, Burke believed that he was pushed out of the sport by prejudice.

But that's no longer the case. Or at least things have drastically improved. For example, David Denson, a player in the Milwaukee Brewers farm system felt comfortable enough to come out while still an active player. And star athletes like Abby Wambach don't even feel it's necessary anymore to have to come out--it should just be accepted.

While there is surely still trace amounts of prejudice in the veins of the sports world (just look at Yunel Escobar's boneheaded eyeblack stunt from a few years ago or Daniel Murphy's ignorant comments about MLB Ambassador of Inclusion and gay former player Billy Bean), there's no denying that we've come a long way, and players like Glenn Burke, who put up with homophobic comments so today's athletes wouldn't have to, are to thank for it.

Here's the list of 15 athletes who have come out of the closet, and here's to hoping that more athletes will feel comfortable enough to do so in the future.

15 Orlando Jordan

via wikiwand.com

14 Abby Wambach

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

13 Kwame Harris

via metro.co.uk

12 Rosa Mendes

via wwe.com

11 Tom Daley

via mirror.co.uk

10 Billy Bean

via mlb.com

9 David Denson

via mlb.com

8 Darren Young

via cagesideseats.com

7 Glenn Burke

via mercurynews.com

6 Ian Thorpe

via bcsn.tv

5 Jason Collins

via richmondfreepress.co.uk

4 Chris Kanyon

via shitloadsofwrestling.tumblr.com

3 Greg Louganis

via chicagotribune.com

2 Michael Sam

via latimes.com

1 Caitlyn Jenner

via nbcnews.com

Before she was Caitlyn, she was Bruce. During an April 2015 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, Caitlyn Jenner came out to the world as a trans woman. She says that it was something she has dealt with for most of her life, even taking hormone replacement therapy before marrying now ex-wife Kris Jenner. As Bruce, she was an accomplished athlete, taking home the gold for the decathlon at the 1976 Montreal summer Olympics. At the time, Bruce was considered one of—if not the—best overall athlete in the world. Caitlyn is currently the star of her own reality show, I am Cait, which explores her life after coming out as a trans woman.

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Top 15 Athletes Who Shockingly Came Out Of The Closet