Professional golfer Tadd Fujikawa came out publicly as gay earlier this week in posts on social media. Fujikawa said he is sharing his true self publicly for the first time because the stories of so many other LGBTQ athletes coming out before him helped him, and he wants to pay it forward.
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*PLEASE READ* Coincidentally, today is world suicide prevention day. However, I was going to share this regardless. So…I'm gay. Many of you may have already known that.😅 I don't expect everyone to understand or accept me. But please be gracious enough to not push your beliefs on me or anyone in the LGBTQ community. My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another. I've been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality. I thought that I didn't need to come out because it doesn't matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much other's stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope. I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say. I've struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. Now I'm standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone's life. Although it's a lot more accepted in our society today, we still see children, teens, and adults being ridiculed and discriminated against for being the way we are. Some have even taken their lives because of it. As long as those things are still happening, I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality. Whether the LGBTQ is what you support or not, we must liberate and encourage each other to be our best selves, whatever that may be. It's the only way we can make this world a better place for future generations. I don't want this to be focused on me. I just want to spread love and acceptance to others who are in a similar situation. If anyone out there is struggling, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. YOU ARE LOVED AND YOU ARE ENOUGH…AS IS, EXACTLY AS YOU ARE!❤️ I can't wait for the day we all can live without feeling like we're different and excluded. A time where we don't have to come out, we can love the way we want to love and not be ashamed. We are all human and equal after all. So I dare you…spread love. Let's do our part to make this world a better place.🏳️🌈❤️💛💚💙💜
“I thought that I didn’t need to come out because it doesn’t matter if anyone knows,” Fujikawa wrote. “But I remember how much other’s stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope. I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say. I’ve struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. Now I’m standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone’s life.”
Fujikawa told Outsports that he had not come out to anyone in professional golf until his post yesterday.
“The love and support have been overwhelming,” he said of the 24 hours following his announcement. “I’m so glad that I came out. I can finally be the best version of me.”
Fujikawa told us he knew in his early teens that he was gay, but that he “tried to convince myself to be straight for a long time.”
As an amateur, Fujikawa, from Hawaii, qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open. At the time he was the youngest player in the history of the storied tournament. He went pro the following year and has toured on the PGA Tour Canada, eGolf Professional Tour and Hooters Tour. He is currently playing in mini tours and qualifiers.
Fujikawa is certainly one of the first male pro golfers to come out publicly that we know of, and he’s the first U.S. Open competitor to do so, again, that we are aware of. Another rare male golfer to come out previously is Yale athlete Jake Leffew. Men’s golf has long been a tough nut to crack for the LGBTQ community, and it’s great to see Fujikawa willing to take the leap.
This article was first published here