Yesterday football star Michael Sam spoke at a press conference where he fielded questions about joining the NFL and making history. Sam, who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday, is the first openly gay player in the NFL.
At the press conference, Sam answered a question that referred to a kid who came out of the closet to his father after Sam was drafted. Sam answered, “I'm honored that I helped someone to be comfortable with who we are - gave them a little courage to speak to his father. But right now I'm just looking forward to continue on my dream. And if it inspires other people. Hey, I'm with you. And anyone that's not okay with that, like I said earlier, if someone disowns you, be part of my family. I'll welcome you. Ram up!"
According to a study by the Williams Institute, The Palette Fund, and the True Colors Fund, LGBT youth make up to 40% of homeless and at-risk youth. And, according to a study by Center for American
Progress, LGBT youth are eight times more likely to commit suicide if rejected by family members. HRC’s report, Growing Up LGBT in America, found that more than half (56%) of LGBT youth say they are out to their immediate family; a quarter (25%) are out to their extended family.
LGBT youth can now look to Sam as proof that being open and proud of who you are doesn't keep you from achieving your dreams.
Athletes and leaders like Michael Sam are showing what real courage looks like. Let's give him a high five and thank him for his bravery. Send Michael Sam a virtual high-five!