John Amaechi

Why are there so few gay people in sport?

There are gay people in sport, we just don’t know about them because they aren’t out. I did the same. I remained closeted for years even though I knew the truth about my sexuality.

The problem is, the world of sport is such a masculine and testosterone-driven environment that to stand up and say that you’re different, in any way, is very hard. But it’s changing. When I came out I found that most of my team mates were supportive.

Of course there were people who didn’t understand and weren’t comfortable with it but, the majority of those I told didn’t find it an issue. I think if you’re talented, then people will see that and ignore any problems they have with sexuality, race or gender.

John Amaechi

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And lots of gay people are good at sport. It’s a complete myth and very ignorant to think that they’re not.

If anyone still believes that, I suggest that they get a passport and have a look around the world or open a history book and read about Ancient Greece – sport has been gay for thousands of years.

If a gay boy or girl wants to get into sport professionally then they should know that their sexuality isn’t a barrier to this. They have the same options as anyone else.

They should seek out a team that will challenge and improve them and work hard, keep positive and remain determined.

About John:

Amaechi became a global icon by being open about his sexuality at a time when the majority of gay sports stars stay closeted.

His decision to come out is all the more poignant because he did so in the highly masculine domain of NBA basketball - the first ever player to do this. Now retired, Amaechi plays for the likes of The Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz and The Houston Rockets.

In 2009 he was a judge on The Speaker which aimed to find the UK's best young public speaker. The face of Sport England's "Everyday Sport" campaign he is also one of four people to hold a post as a director for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Diversity Board for the 2012 Olympic games.

He owns Amaechi Performance Systems – a business providing motivational speakers for conferences.

John appears in our inspirational Aim High booklet, along with 19 other people at the top of their respective fields, showing sexuality should not get in the way of success.

Click here to read why >>>