July 29, 2007

Younger Gay Athletes Coming Out in Locker Rooms

While the atmosphere in professional sports locker rooms is still perceived as being too homophobic for athletes to be comfortable coming out as gay, the attitudes among high school and college athletes and their teammates appears to be changing and becoming more accepting.

A 2007 Gallup poll found that 57% of Americans viewed homosexuality as an "acceptable alternative lifestyle," an increase of 11 percentage points from four years ago. The percentage was higher among 18- to 29-year-olds.

Almost three-quarters of heterosexual adults said they would not change their feelings toward a favorite male athlete if he came out, according to a recent survey by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications.

"It's not like the old days," said David Kopay, a former National Football League player who stirred controversy by announcing he was homosexual in 1975.

This article from the Los Angeles Times chronicles the coming out of several young athletes, some of whom still faced prejudice but are all handling it and glad they did come out.

Thanks to PageOneQ for the tip.

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