In this day and age, gay athletes fortunately do not need to hide their sexuality. Still, despite the general public's acceptance for homosexuals and homosexuality, there are still a few people who are petty and prejudiced. Coming out still takes a lot of courage, and that is why we've written this tiny but heartfelt tribute for these brave souls:
- Ed Gallagher. He was the offensive tackle for the University of Pittsburgh from 1977 to 1979. After his first time with another man, he tried to commit suicide in 1985. At the time, Gallagher was struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and was very depressed. He survived but was left a paraplegic. But then, he went on to become an author and a speaker on homosexuality and disabilities. He founded the organization Alive to Thrive before he died in 2005 of a heart condition. Ed Gallagher was a great athlete and a good man, and to this day he inspires gay athletes all over the world.
- John Ekwugha Amaechi. Now retired, John Amaechi became the first openly gay NBA athlete when he came out in his book, "Man in the Middle." He is now a psychologist, educator and activist in Europe and USA. Reactions from some players were negative to say the least — all of them anxious about having a gay athlete in the team, but it did not deter John Amaechi. Now he has been awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by Manchester Metropolitan University for his achievements as an athlete, a broadcaster, and for his charitable work with the NSPCC, the National Literary Trust, and the establishment of the ABC Foundation, which is an organization that encourages children to become involved in sports and community.
- Alyson Annan. Alyson is a former field hockey player from Australia. She won 228 international caps for the Women's National Team, in which she scored 166 goals and was voted The Best Female Hockey Player in the World in 1999. The year she led the Australian team to victory (2000), she broke up with her then-husband Maximiliano Caldas. She went on to move to Holland and there she met her current partner, Olympic medalist Carole Thate. They have two children, Sam and Cooper. Annan is a gay athlete who won a number of awards and has quite a few medals under her belt.
- Beatriz “Gigi” Fernandez. Born in San Juan, this gay retired tennis player now has a company of her own called Baby Goes Pro. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Florida and graduated from Rollins College's Crummer School of Business where she earned a Master of Business Administration. She is the mother of twins Karson Xavier and Madison Jane, and is the partner of Jane Geddes—also a retired athlete. In her athletic career, Fernandez won seventeen Grand Slam titles, fourteen of them with Natasha Zvereva.
- Ian Roberts. An Australian actor and a retired professional rugby league footballer, in his athletic career, Jack Gibson (also a rugby league athlete and commentator) described him as “the best front rower in the game.” Ian Roberts criticized Stephanie Rice (a swimming star) for calling the South African rugby union team “faggots” in a Twitter post. Roberts said that Rice was a “complete idiot.” In 1998, he retired from the professional rugby league and began studying at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney and has appeared in a number of shows.