News Round-Up: October 8, 2021

A still from the Netflix holiday rom-com "Single All The Way"

Some news items you might have missed:

GQ Magazine UK: Billy Porter on the Actors Fund of America when he found out he was HIV positive: “They showed up for me and saved my life. I’m so grateful that there was some place for me to go where I was not shamed but instead lifted up and supported so I could get back on my feet. And now look at what has happened, all because someone cared enough to help.” Continue reading “News Round-Up: October 8, 2021”

Luke Prokop Becomes 1st Out Player In National Hockey League

Luke Prokop, prospect for the Nashville Predators, came out as gay becoming the first out active hockey player in the NHL
Luke Prokop, prospect for the Nashville Predators, came out as gay becoming the first out active hockey player in the NHL
Luke Prokop (screen capture via ESPN)

Luke Prokop, a prospect for the Nashville Predators, came out as gay on Monday becoming the first active player under a National Hockey League contract to do so.

“I am no longer scared to hide who I am,” the 19-year-old wrote on Instagram. “Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.”

“It has been quite the journey to get to this point in my life, but I could not be happier with my decision to come out,” Prokop continued. “From a young age I have dreamed of being an NHL player, and believe that living my authentic life will allow me to bring my whole self to the rink and improve my chances of fulfilling my dreams.”

The six-foot-four defenseman went on to say that while he is “new to the community,” he is “eager to learn about the strong and resilient people who came before me and paved the way so I could be more comfortable today.”

Prior to Prokop, there has never been an NHL player, active or retired, who has publicly come out.

Originally from Alberta, Canada, Prokop played for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League last season, acting as an alternate captain.

He was selected by the Predators in the third round of the 2020 NHL draft. In December, he signed a three-year contract with the team.

Prokop told ESPN that personal struggles during his tenure with the Hitmen led him to the realization he needed to come out.

“I was lying in bed one night, had just deleted a dating app for the fourth or fifth time, and I was extremely frustrated because I couldn’t be my true authentic self,” Prokop said. “In that moment I said, ‘Enough is enough. I’m accepting who I am. I want to live the way I want to, and I want to accept myself as a gay man.’”

Prokop shares that the first team exec he spoke to about coming out was Operations/General Manager Brian Poile.

“He, in that moment, showed me a lot of support and told me the Predators are behind me 1,000 percent and want what’s best for me and that they’re proud of me during this,” Prokop told ESPN. “I remember getting off that phone call and tears just started coming from my eyes, I was so excited.”

“And in that moment, I thought, this is what it’s going to feel like for the rest of my life. For them to show that support that they did in that moment, it felt like I can rule the world.”

Prokop’s announcement follows that of Las Vegas Raiders player Carl Nassib, who became the first out active NFL player last month when he shared with the world that he is gay. Prokop told ESPN that, while Nassib’s recent news didn’t prompt his own coming out, he did find the NFL player’s words, and the reaction of the NFL, inspiring.

The Predators’ Twitter account quickly posted messages of support for Prokop as well as the National Hockey League and the official accounts for other teams.

“The Nashville Predators organization is proud of Luke for the courage he is displaying in coming out today,” Henry wrote. “And we will support him unequivocally in the days, weeks, and years to come as he continues to develop as a prospect.”

Henry added that, “A long-stated goal in our organization is equality for all, including the LGBTQ community, and it is important that Luke feels comfortable and part of an inclusive environment as he moves forward in his career.”

“Our message as a team [is that] we’re obviously very supportive of him,” Predators team captain Roman Josi told NHL.com. “We just reached out and told him [we’ll help with] whatever he needs and that we’re proud of him. It’s a big step for him and we fully support him.”

The Predators Instagram account also shared interview clips of Prokop speaking to SportsNet’s podcast, ’31 Thoughts.’

Brazil: Governor Comes Out In Advance Of Presidential Campaign

Eduardo Leite of Brazil (image via Facebook)

Eduardo Leite, governor of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and a 2022 presidential hopeful, has come out as gay.

Leite, who hopes to challenge his country’s virulently anti-LGBTQ leader, President Jair Bolsonaro, in next year’s election, came out during an interview with Brazil’s top broadcaster, TV Globo.

“I’m gay — and I’m a governor who is gay rather than a gay governor,” Leite shared with viewers. “Just as Obama in the United States wasn’t a Black president, but a president who was Black. And I’m proud of this.”

Leite, a member of the center-right Brazilian Social Democratic Party (SDB), went on to say he has nothing to hide and wished that sexual orientation was a “non-issue” in Brazil.

The 36-year-old’s announcement was met with much support from the worlds of Brazilian politics and LGBTQ activism.

The Guardian reports Toni Reis, a longtime advocate of LGBTQ rights in the South American country, wrote on social media, “You’ve made history.”

“I know the pain the prison of the closet represents, particularly in a conservative environment like politics,” tweeted Fabiano Contarato, Brazil’s first openly gay senator elected in 2018. “Everyone must find the right moment for this gesture. Be happy and follow your great work: life will be lighter!”

Leite responded to the public show of support on Twitter writing, “The countless messages of care and support I am receiving make me absolutely safe. Love will conquer hate! Thank you very very much everyone!”

Amid the positive responses, however, were some who noted that Leite eventually came to publicly support Bolsonaro in his 2018 presidential campaign on the eve of the election although he disagreed with Bolsonaro on several policies including the treatment of minorities.

At the time, Leite called his decision a “democratic gesture.”

According to The Guardian, Jean Wyllys, the first out member of Brazil’s congress to fight for LGBT+ rights, noted that Leite has yet to disavow his previous support for Bolsonaro.

“This chap had many opportunities to defend the LGBT community and he didn’t,” said Wyllys. “On the contrary … he was a Bolsonarista until yesterday – and he’s probably still one today, because at no point has he retracted his support for Bolsonaro.”

“So I don’t celebrate this,” added Wyllys. “I’m not part of this team of people who are commemorating this chap coming out of the closet as if it was some great accomplishment for Brazil’s LGBT+ community.”

(source: The Guardian)