(Photo Credits: Screengrab from Byron Perkins’s Instagram Account)
Byron Perkins—a Hampton University football player—came out publicly as gay through an Instagram story he shared on his account last Wednesday. This makes him the first out football player at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), according to Outsports, an LGBTQ-sports publication.
“I’ve been self-reflective and trying to prioritize what makes me happy and makes me feel alive,” Perkins said. “I thought it could be just football and school, but there was a component missing. And recently I’ve been able to figure out that I haven’t been fully happy because everyone didn’t know who I was. Authenticity is everything to me.”
Further, Perkins wrote on his Instagram account:
I’ve decided that I’m going to make a change, and stop running away from myself. I’m gay, let it be known that this is not a ‘decision’ or a ‘choice.’ Yes, this is who I am, this is who I’ve been, and this is who I’m going to be.
Simply put, I am who I am.
The rest of his message on his Instagram reads:
I have come to understand that life is precious and I could be gone at any moment, therefore, I will no longer be living a lie. No one should have to live a life crippled by what society thinks.
I have been told on many occasions that I walk around a look as if I’m upset. This is not because I am an angry person, but because I have put on a mask, a mask that has restricted me. Today, I am destroying that mask.
For the friends and family that have known and supported me to this point, thank you, and for the friends and family that I will lose… Thank you too. You have all helped me in the process of building the young man I am today.
In an interview with Outsports, Perkins said that he “understands how some people may not fully understand him being gay.” But at the same time, he’s aware that there are other gay Black men struggling out there who he wants to help in his own little way.
“It’s about that kid who’s going to see this and think he can be himself too. Especially at an HBCU, young Black gay men need an outlet.” He added, “They need a support system. There hasn’t been an out gay football athlete at an HBCU. I want to end the stigma of what people think. I want people to know they can be themselves.
“It’s about that kid who’s going to see this and think he can be himself too.” Read the story in full here.
Netizens showed their support for Perkins by posting their words of encouragement online. Take a look at some of them below:
Good luck Byron, Very attractive young man. I admire your bravery brother. I hope the decision you made to come out don’t harm you in any way. I hope it bring you love, joy and happiness.
Marcus I always enjoy your comments man…Thx you for you man!
Interesting point: “I hope the decision you made to come out don’t harm you in any way.” See another poster’s comment: “…so he can live comfortably on and off the field without complications or having to hide who he is… ”
Promoters of “Coming Out” regularly claim your life will be all butterflies and unicorns and you’ll feel relief and freedom.
Why wouldn’t just being a great guy (your positive, confident, respectable self, with no big announcement) accomplish the same thing? Where along the way over time, people would come to know who you are when it comes to partners?
What Perkins wrote is a “de facto” carbon-copy script for any other athletic who has already come out.
It is devoid of sexual needs but full of “Politically Correct” justifications to have the right-live-live as he chooses Jargon.
The declaration is safe and righteous and so will be accepted by both school and athlete alike.
We’ve read them before and we will read them again
at least it’s attractive
Correction, you mean, he, is attractive, not “it”
Perhaps, it would have been better served if I had written:
“At Least, He Is A Fine Piece Of Ass?”
Referring to humans, as humans, is always best. You should be referred to as an “it”
Why are you so negative? What have you recently done to advance LGBTQ rights? Everyone should live THEIR truth. Perkins is living HIS truth. He’s not trying to live yours.
Reality is not – unto itself – negative or positive. It is factual and I commented…accordingly.
We have read many such declarations and what he wrote is, virtually, word-for-word, exactly what has already been written.
Never heard of him but he is doing the right thing. Sadly the world of sports might still not promote him properly to the NFL. It’s still great news more athletes are coming out of the closet.
That’s what the combines are for. If he wants to spend half his life crippled with arthritis or hearing train whistles at stop signs, he’ll have to be running at least a 4.3 40, hit like a mule, jump like Jordan and BP 350 coming from a small school like Hampton. Best luck is to get a real degree and have a career that pays 150k without constant orthopedic trauma.
I rarely call anyone a “hottie” but yeah, he is, and I really wish him luck, period. And applaud him, too, for being honest to himself, first of all.
If we really want to believe that being gay is normal and okay, we need to stop putting everyone that comes out as gay or whatever on a pedestal, praising them for being “stunning and brave,” and giving them so much attention for doing so. The reality is: – No one cares if you’re gay – Being gay doesn’t affect your ability to play sports – “Walking around as if you’re upset” is a you problem and no one forced you to be that way. People of every sexuality are capable of smiling . 🙂 Just don’t stare uncomfortably at… Read more »
Agreed. The “Look at Me!!!” crowd is annoying no matter what race, color, creed or sexual preference. Look for the next Coming Out as professional tiddly winks player as the Next Big Thing. Those who have been comfortable with our sex since day one don’t feel a need to scream it online with hopes of gaining 15 minutes. Last thing in the world I would bother with is having anything to do with such a drama queen. Inevitably leads to unhappiness and all manner of bitterness. Just ask Anthony Rapp
True, this why I say get some wealth and security first then come out. Even the most anti gay person respect and ignore issues with sexuality when you have power, which is wealth.
The world would be a better place without negative people and their comments. Looking at you!
The world would be a better place if we all respected that others have opinions that differ from our own. A differing opinion is not “negative”; it just doesn’t line up with our world view. Our opinion has no automatic right to be deemed “positive.”
Hatefully labeling others as”negative” because we’re not exactly the same is a real problem.
Statement #1 -> False, sadly. Plenty of people who care if you’re gay, even it should be none of their business (incl. governments). Statement #2 -> False, sadly. If your teammates use gay slurs and are uncomfortable playing with you, it sure does affect your ability to play sports. Statement #3 -> Partly true. If society tells you that you are “abnormal”, that probably makes you upset, no? But I agree that one’s attitude/reaction is the only thing one can control. And I, like you, look forward to the day when this isn’t news. Much progress but not quite there… Read more »
I hear where you’re coming from and I know there’s a huge push for identity politics and making your race, sexuality, and all that the most important aspect of who you are (unless you’re straight and/or white lol), but it’s really not that big of a deal at the end of the day … at least not in the Western world. With that in mind: 1) The majority of people don’t care … especially if it’s announced out of the blue as if it’s SUPPOSED to matter. If it’s no one’s business, why are we shouting it from the rooftops,… Read more »
It’s not the same thing and you’re being realistic, either. I received some of that ridiculous “white shit” as well; from Caucasian folks too, myself for speaking English correctly. I was a computer operator for Targets Headquarters in Minneapolis, this woman told me, “We’re thinking your college educated or you’re gay”. . . because I didn’t talk/speak like what they were use to, from an African American. So, he’s black (obviously) and gay . . . That’s what those who are trippin’ are missing out on, his achievements; overshadowed by his race and sexual orientation . . . he’s just… Read more »
… What isn’t the same thing? I’m confused. Black people are the ones that told me that I “act/speak white” … which means I use regular English, too. Given that messaging from black people about Ebonics, I’m not going to fault any other race/culture for commenting on “how articulate I am” … it’s annoying but I get their intentions so I won’t fault anyone for it. And I agree, if he has any achievements, it would have been nice if they were mentioned in this or any other posting. I looked up his stats and he’s … okay. People are… Read more »
“What African Americans, say about your speech/actions” it’s not the same as a declaration of your sexual orientation, so that’s not ‘really’ the reality here, is what I’m saying.
Furthermore, the Western society does indeed care if your gay or not, the politics, need I remind you?
I dislike “identity politics” as well, which is why I don’t share my sexual orientation unless asked about it by somebody I want to share it with. I don’t want this one aspect to define me. That said, I do believe many people’s lives are still being affected by their identity and I do believe in free expression. If he wants to share it, so be it. If you don’t care, ignore it. If he sucks at football, he won’t have a successful career. As for the Western world, even in this country it was legal to fire somebody based… Read more »
Also being gay doesn’t make one “special”.
The black community is the most conservative in America when it comes to gay issues. The NFL will use this against you too, but you have a right to live fee and make your own choices. It may have been better to come out after you were successful in life. We aren’t afforded opportunity other races get.
I’m pretty confident that the majority of NFL players are black so the Oppression Olympics don’t really work here or in basketball …
Do you really believe that there is true equality for every race in America? I’m just telling my truth about how black deal with sexual issues. They never will truly accept a gay or bisexual man. Bisexual is reserved for females… lesbians get more respect than gays especially if she’s sexy.
For the most part, yes – as a black man, I don’t think there’s anything in America that keeps anyone of any race from doing what they want. While your next points don’t really have anything to do with football … who is the “they” that you’re referring to that “won’t accept a gay or bisexual man?” A potential love interest? I feel like that’s the only circumstance where your sexual orientation would ever matter. Bisexuals will always run into trouble in monogamous relationships because their potential partners worry that they’ll miss the other sex … and pretty privilege will… Read more »
I take it that you don’t live in the south… far right leadership rule down here.
I live in North Carolina, but have visited Florida and Texas every once in a while. Nothing stopped me or anyone from succeeding in life. 🙂
It’s truly a difference in mentality.
Again, kudos, he doesn’t know, it’s different down here, as a native of Minneapolis, having lived in NYC, too, this place is a trip with its ignorance. I love the weather, food, flora-fauna among other things he, he, he, but the typical mindsets down here, YIKIES!!!
Oh, Lawd, lmao! You do know the minds of “our people,” don’t you, for sho!!!
I thought about that too, the strategy of many, like Lena Horne way back in the day, she got to fame, them came out with, “I’m a black woman.”
Best wishes to him! For some they need to come out. And that’s great. The results are either no big deal or a big problem. But that’s what they should expect.
Others they wish to keep their life private.
There are results either way.
This true… that’s why I say get paid and live comfortable before coming out. Then you can tell the world what to kiss and where to go.
Thats the easier way, but some folks like to do it the hard way, different kind of satisfaction in it. Getting the money first is always alluring.
some of y’all are so miserable…. All the man did was come out so he can live comfortably on and off the field without complications or having to hide who he is…but some of you miserable hating gays will go out of your way to turn EVERYTHING into something bad or negative …now when someone comes out you say it’s a political statement ?? or he just wants random attention?? And him being black young handsome and a athlete didn’t help either… You gotta say something negative… Again… Some of you are so miserable…
I respect your point of view but if aren’t black you won’t understand. I’m not asking for special treatment because I’m black I live with reality daily. This guy is so young and has a lot of living ahead of him. Maybe he was sleep when other gays have tried it. Build your fortune then do as you please. I’ve never seen anyone putting a wealthy person to there face and survived especially if you have work for a living. I wish him all the best….
Good for him. He came out. Blah blah blah. I’m actually bothered by something else. So when other athletes have come out, I have never seen them highlight the person with a shirtless pic. So why do it for the Black guy? Because the LGBTQ+ community often likes to hypersexualize Blackmen and reduce them to nothing but sex. When in reality, Black men are as just as dynamic as other men. We only have to look at the over used, and very degrading term BBC. It’s not a compliment! It would be refreshing to see Black men presented as the… Read more »
Good points… thanks for sharing!!!!
Oh, Amen, Amen, Amen!!!!!
When they can’t take all of ‘who’ you, just your dick, it’s so very sick of them.
What other athlete came out that wasn’t shirtless? The only one I remember is the one that’s paralyzed from the neck down. I feel like, since this is A4A, they’re going to go for the shirtless, speedo pictures if they’re out there … but not everyone is shirtless on the Internet lol. I agree that black people, just like any other race, is capable of being dynamic, intelligent, well-spoken, successful, and all that good stuff … but, without going into too much detail, I don’t think that fits the narrative in the Western World. Successful, intelligent black men are treated… Read more »
Hello im William Parks wassup
Hello Byron how u doing today