Today Michael Sam made history as the first Division I college football player in history to come out as gay.  Sam, who was named the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-SEC selection during his senior year at Missouri, is expected to be a top pick in this year’s NFL Draft next month.

Michael Sam's brave decision to live openly and authentically at the beginning of his professional career provides hope to millions of LGBT individuals around the world.

"Trailblazers like Michael are tearing down barriers to equality almost daily, and I sincerely believe that the young person who will go on to become the first openly LGBT President of the United States watches today's news somewhere in this country and is inspired," said HRC President Chad Griffin. 

“We must of course also recognize heroes like Billie Jean King, Renee Richards, Greg Louganis, and the many others who courageously paved the way for athletes like Michael Sam to come out,” said Griffin.

Sam joins a growing list of notable athletes who have come out recently, including Jason Collins,Robbie Rogers, Brittney Griner, Orlando Cruz, Megan Rapinoe, Lori Lindsey, and Tom Daley. 

Coming out -- whether it is as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or allied -- is a deeply personal and arduous journey for each individual. Show your support for Michael Sam and his courageous decions by sharing the image below or sending him a virtual high-five now.

And for resources to guide you along your path to coming out as LGBT or an ally, visit HRC's Coming Out Center. 

Filed under: Coming Out, Community, Sports

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