WNBA Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner accepted a Special Recognition Award from GLAAD's Wilson Cruz at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco. Brittney spoke about coming out to her mom in ninth grade: "It's like a light came on me, on the inside, around me... I felt like I was Brittney Griner. I wasn't hiding anymore." She continued: "If you know then you know. Come out. Don't hide it. Be who you are."
Check out the video below.
22-year-old Griner publicly came out in an interview with Sports Illustrated last month following the WNBA draft where she was picked No. 1 overall by the Phoenix Mercury. During her collegiate career at Baylor University Griner was chosen as the 2012 AP Div. I player of the year and the 2012 Final Four Most Outstanding Player—the same year that the Lady Bears won the National Championship.
Former Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy also received an Special Recognition Award from GLAAD and spoke out on the evolution of the LGBT dialogue in the sports world. McClatchy became the youngest owner in the MLB when he led a group of investors that purchased the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1996; he was only 33 years old. He was the CEO and public face of the team for 11 years before stepping away in 2007 and came out publicly in an interview with the New York Times last year.
Last year, GLAAD teamed up with Athlete Ally to provide a training on LGBT issues to the NBA rookie camps. GLAAD has also reached out to ESPN regarding anti-gay comments made on air following Jason Collins historic coming out last month. The NBA has also participated in GLAAD's Spirit Day for two years, turning the league's twitter photo purple as a symbol of support for LGBT young people and to take a stand against bullying.
Also at the event, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom received the Golden Gate Award. The reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants received the Corporate Leader Award. Guests included: Melanie Brown (America's Got Talent, Spice Girls); Tamala Jones (Castle); Guillermo Diaz (Scandal); Jessica Clark (True Blood); Jinkx Monsoon (RuPaul's Drag Race); Rex Lee (Suburgatory); Teri Polo, Sherri Saum, Peter Paige (The Fosters); Jaymes Vaughn, James Davis (The Amazing Race); Kyle Richards (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills); Jennifer Biesty, Ryan Scott, Josie Smith-Malave (Top Chef); Laverne Cox, E.J. Bonilla (Musical Chairs); Travis Fine, Isaac Leyva (Any Day Now); Dan Parent (writer, artist Kevin Keller); Marc Lamont Hill (HuffPost Live); Prop 8 plaintiffs Jeff Zarrillo, Paul Katami, Kris Perry, Sandra Stier; LGBT advocates Karen and Eric Andresen, Shane Bitney Crone, Jennifer Tyrrell and Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler; former Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy; number one WNBA draft pick Brittney Griner; GLAAD National Spokespersons Wilson Cruz and Omar Sharif, Jr..
The 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards were presented nationally by Ketel One and Wells Fargo, and presented locally in San Francisco by Southwest Airlines.