Basketball star Brittney Griner tells LGBT youth: ‘Be who you are’

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Recently out openly lesbian US basketball star Brittney Griner made an impassioned speech at last weekend’s GLAAD Media Awards, telling LGBT youths to “be who you are”, and to tweet her if they ever have any problems.

Speaking at the ceremony, Griner, a new Phoenix Mercury player and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) draft pick, recalled her own coming out, saying hers was not a big issue, but accepted that it would be for some people.

“I encourage all youth, elder, doesn’t matter what age group you fall in. It’s never too late. It’s never too early,” Griner said. “If you know, then you know. Come out, don’t hide it. Don’t try to be like anybody else. Be who you are. Be comfortable in your own skin.”

She went on to say to look her up on Twitter if people needed help or support. She said: “Find me on Twitter. DM me, at me,” she said. “We will find help.”

Griner came out as gay last month, and offered advice for young women looking up to her to “just be who you are”, and not worry about what other people might be thinking.

She did not make an official announcement that she is gay, not wanting to make a big deal about the fact that she is a lesbian, however referred to her sexuality when it was relevant to the topic of discussion during interview.

Dispelling the idea that openly gay sports people find it difficult to find sponsorship, she has now signed an endorsement deal with Nike. The deal was confirmed on USA today by Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s sports agent.

The 22-year-old described the deal as “big time.”

In his acceptance speech at the GLAAD Awards two weeks ago, former US President Bill Clinton, noted his daughter’s part in his change in stance on the issue of equal marriage.

Bill Clinton was a controversial choice for the Advocate for Change award, as he signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law during his presidency.