LGBT sports resource Outsports announced Thursday that at least 109 people connected to sports came out in 2014. The total includes athletes, coaches, administrators, media members and officials from high schools, colleges and professional leagues. Fourteen individuals connected to swimming came out. Men comprised over 70% of the list.
Although many gay teenagers now feel secure enough in society's reaction to come out at an early age, others -- especially those in rural areas or with conservative parents -- face a difficult struggle in being open about their sexual orientation. The development of support groups like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the creation of gay-straight clubs and the presence of gay-friendly media and the Internet have helped foster a more positive climate for out teens.
Former NBA center John Amaechi has become the first professional basketball player to come out of the closet. Amaechi, whose autobiography, "Man in the Middle," will be published on Feb. 14, is just the sixth male pro athlete from the top four major U.S. sports (basketball, baseball, football and hockey) to come out publicly.