As his proud parents look on, NBA player Jason Collins honored by LA City Council

Paying tribute to Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and others Collins says: 'I hope my actions will make it easier for the next person to come out'

As his proud parents look on, NBA player Jason Collins honored by LA City Council
30 May 2014

NBA player Jason Collins was among the LGBT leaders honored by the Los Angeles City Council on Friday as the city kicked off a month of pride celebrations and events.

‘Thank you from the bottom of my heart,’ said Collins, who became a Los Angeles resident last year. ‘I’m very blessed to be here. I’m just inspired to be in such great company.’

Collins made history this spring with the Brooklyn Nets when he became the first player in his league to play while openly gay.

‘I hope that my actions will make it easier for the next person to come out.’

While accepting a proclamation from Mitch O’Farrell, one of the city’s two openly gay councilmen, Collins mentioned lesbian tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King for coming out long before him.

He also mentioned such openly gay contemporaries as Robbie Rogers (soccer) and Brittney Griner (basketball).

‘More and more athletes over time will come out during their playing careers,’ Collins told the crowd. ‘I’m looking forward to the day when it isn’t a big deal. But we’re not there yet.’

He added: ‘I’m honored to be part of the conversation.’

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the start of the more than 90 minute ceremony that ‘our young people need heroes to pave the way … That’s what Jason Collins is doing in professional sports. He’s such an inspiration for LGBT youth across the country.’

Others honored during the city hall ceremony were former LA City Clerk June Lagmay, homeless youth advocate Carlos Sosa, Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Beth Chayim Chadashim, community leaders Mignon Moore and Elaine Harley, as well as Rabbi Denise Eger.

In addition to O’Farrell, also making presentations were openly gay councilman Mike Bonin, openly gay City Controller Ron Galperin and City Attorney Mike Feuer, an LGBT ally.

The city’s first openly gay councilman Bill Rosendahl, who retired last year and was responsible for launching the now annual event, was also present for the ceremony.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Russia tells gay couples: 'we will never let you adopt'

Russia slammed France's gay marriage bill and said it would not allow same-sex couples to adopt Russian orphans 
Mobile phone giant EE botches name change for trans customer

Mobile phone giant EE botches name change for trans customer

British cell phone giant EE promises to change rules so trans customers no longer have to provide gender recognition certificates to change their details
Wooden Tranquility clock unites traditional skills and modern design

Wooden Tranquility clock unites traditional skills and modern design

Made entirely from wood, the the clock's intricate visible mechanics provide a stunning eyecatcher for every room
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Chinese 84-year-old comes out as transgender

Qian Jinfan began to live as a woman aged 80, after a lifetime of secrecy
No thumbnail available

Jamaica PM defends LGBTI killings by claiming country 'respects' gays

Earlier this month, a gay man was stoned to death by a mob
No thumbnail available

Republican Rudy Giuliani believes being pro-gay marriage dooms his chances of running for president

Says former New York City Mayor: 'I’m in favor of gay marriage. I see it as an issue of equality'
No thumbnail available

Bullied into murder: Destruction of a closeted youth

Mark Obbie tells how young Tim Ginocchetti, struggling with the loss of his dad and his own sexuality, was so bullied by his mom he ended up killing her in a fit of rage
No thumbnail available

Star Trek icon and hubby to star in comedy web series cleverly titled It Takeis Two

Show follow George and Brad Takei as they navigate the perils of the Internet and other facets of modern life
No thumbnail available

Beverly Hills Hotel responds to accusation they are owned by homophobes

Hotel spokesperson says Brunei government owners do not effect their policies, but protest organizer says that's not the point