US: First inductees announced for National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The not-for-profit Chicago-based National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, for gay athletes and their allies, has announced its initial inductees, which includes Jason Collins, Martina Navratilova and Orlando Cruz.

Back in May, when the Hall of Fame was announced, its director and board chairman Bill Gubrud said its intention was to dispel the idea that gay people don’t like sport.

Out Magazine now reports that the hall’s first inductees have been announced, which includes a list of athletes, sports journalists, teams and more.

Athletes featured in the hall of fame will include recently out NBA player Jason Collins, tennis legends Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Renee Richards, boxer Orlando Cruz, and former Los Angeles Dodgers player Glenn Burke.

ESPN contributors LZ Granderson Christina Kahrl, will also be honoured.

The organisation is going to continue to accept nominations throughout June, and on 2 August, the Chicago induction ceremony will take place.

Recently out openly gay NBA player Jason Collins, last weekend took part in his first gay pride parade in Boston.

Collins in May spoke about his sexuality, confirming he is gay in an article in Sports Illustrated magazine. He said: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

A recent poll revealed that over two-thirds of Americans support Collins’ decision to come out as gay.

After coming out, the star was subject to a tirade of abuse on the social networking site Twitter, including a number of death threats.

Despite some abusive messages, Collins received thousands of messages of support, including from President Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, his teammates, coaches, the Commissioner of the NBA, and countless others.

At the end of June, tennis star Martina Navratilova, will join London Mayor Boris Johnson in taking place in a week-long schedule of events.