Jason Collins became one of the sports world’s biggest trailblazers when he came out of the closet and became the first active openly gay NBA player. But now that Collins has retired, he’s spending his time coaching other LGBT athletes on how to come out.
In a new interview with The Daily Beast, Collins revealed that he’s not only coaching gay athletes, but also gay celebrities.
“Lots of people have reached out — and not just in sports. I just went to dinner with someone in the entertainment world, actually, who’s struggling with this same thing. I can only be there to listen, and tell them what I went through. I had a trainer in Los Angeles who was there for me and listened, and it went a long way,” Collins said.
“A lot of it is listening and supporting, because when I was in the closet, I felt like I had a filter and was censored, and couldn’t say this, or couldn’t say that. It’s weird when you have those first few conversations with someone who knows you’re gay and [you] don’t have to change pronouns. It’s the same thing when I’m having conversations with those individuals who are still in the closet. They’re allowed to talk without a mask on,” he added.
Although there’s still a ways to go when it comes to LGBT athletes being fully accepted in sports, Collins says that changes have been made since he’s come out and it will take more out athletes telling their truth for equality to come about.
“You’re dealing with some people who are of a certain mindset, so it’s going to take more and more examples of people stepping forward in their private and professional lives to help others evolve,” says Collins.
We’re glad that Collins is continuing to use his story and his courage to inspire other LGBT athletes. Hopefully, those he coaches can become an inspiration to others..