The Glass Closet: LGBT College Athletes Stifled, Silenced

Edge Boston
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July 30, 2013
Issues: 

"I’ve gotten tired of waiting for another pro athlete to come out," Brian Kitts told EDGE. 

The co-founder of the You Can Play Project and adjunct professor of sports marketing for the University of Denver wasn’t bashing the celebrity status of now household names Jason Collins or Brittney Griner. What Kitts is speaking to, is the seemingly unquestioned practice of athletes, who wait to come out after they’re signed in professional leagues.

"I’m waiting for the day when there is an athlete who is out and proud and playing sports and then makes it to the pro’s," said Kitts. 

There is no denying that history was made last May when NBA player Collins declared publicly that he is gay. He was not the first athlete to come out, but he was the first male athlete in a major American sport to take the leap. This monumental step and the media hype that followed, might give the impression that the sports world is finally there with the rest of us in terms of LGBT acceptance and equality. 

There has been some disconcerting evidence to the contrary, however. While professional athletes may be embracing diversity, it seems that, at the college level, LGBT athletes feel stifled, if not silenced. According to the 2012 LGBTQ National College Athlete Report by Campus Pride, one in four LGBT athletes feels pressure to remain silent about his or her identity.