Gay youths react to pro-athlete coming out - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Gay youths react to pro-athlete coming out

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It's been more than 24 hours since an NBA player revealed he's gay.

Some are still talking about Jason Collins and his coming out article in Sports Illustrated's online magazine.

"Astronomical" says Joshua Lamb. "This is big in my opinion" says the 20 year old gay UNC-Charlotte student.

Freshman Jackie Grossman, who is gay, says "to have another gay man come out and to have him express his values with LGBT community as well as with the community and to combine these together is really an amazing opportunity."

During his professional basketball career, Collins has been a journeyman center - going from team to team - playing the center position.

He wasn't exactly a stand-out all star.

But now he's standing out for coming out. Collins is being described as the first current professional athlete from a major team sport to say he's gay.

Many in the gay community say Collins' revelation is a significant moment.

"This is a great step for the gay community and breaking boundaries" says Lee Ziglar. "This is our civil rights moment. If we have more and more people come out then you know that's just the great opportunities we have for everybody else."

Older members of the gay community say young people need to feel and see pride.

"Open the world up - it gave people hope that there are no boundaries on them anymore" says Roberta Dunn of the LGBT Community Center in Charlotte

 Dunn believes Collins opening up about his sexual orientation does matter.

"A powerful basketball player in the NBA saying I'm gay. I'm still playing basketball. I'm the same person I was yesterday but now I can be who I really am tomorrow" Dunn says. 

Joshua Lamb adds " we need these movers and shakers to try and change anything. It doesn't matter how many small voices there are. The big people have to have people they work with and associate with to try and change their minds."

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