Michael Sam: ‘People have told me I’m not gay enough…black enough’
Michael Sam may be the one LGBT celebrity hero who has had the hardest time trying to rise above it all.
Not only is he openly gay and African American, he also had to endure the homophobic world of professional sports.
Signed by the St. Louis Rams in 2014, Sam was the first openly gay player to be drafted to the NFL. He left the gridiron in August of 2014 because of mental health reasons.
Since then the 26-year-old has made appearances on Dancing With the Stars and graced the pages of GQ Magazine.
Queerty opened up the pages of Attitude Magazine’s May issue to discover Sam’s feelings about being a role model and the prejudice he still faces beyond the goal posts:
On the reaction to his coming out:
It was amazing. There was a friend who told me to give his cousin a call – she had tried to commit suicide twice. After she heard my story she promised herself she would never do it. People kill themselves because they can’t handle the pressure and that stress. It’s very sad. If by me living my life, I can save someone, I would do it again.
On racism in the gay community:
It’s terrible. People have told me I’m not gay enough, people have told me I’m not black enough. I don’t know what that means. You want to be accepted by other people but you don’t even accept someone just because of the colour of their skin? I just don’t understand that at all. How are you saying that, ‘oh, I want people to accept me because I’m gay but I don’t accept you because you’re black, or because you’re white or because you’re Asian’.
On homophobia in the black community:
I can only go by my experience and the people I’ve been around. I think it’s more accepting, actually. There are a lot of black, openly gay people. A lot of people have [gay] friends, cousins, brothers, sisters… They have at least one openly gay person, at least it’s more accepting, that’s my experience. People tell me they have family members who are gay and it doesn’t freak them out and no black person ever freaked out at me, ‘oh you’re gay’. None. There are people who are over religious who go, ‘oh, you’re a fag, you’re going to hell.’ That’s everywhere. Ted Cruz is pretty much anti-gay.