The world of sport has become a little more colourful now that the 31-year-old Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz, currently ranked fourth-best featherweight in the world, has given a statement to the Boxing Scene website openly declaring that he is gay.
“As I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself,” he wrote. “I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay men.”
Cruz himself, however, has precious few role models. Traditionally, there has been a tendency for gay sportspeople to hide their sexual orientation until they retire. Justin Fashanu, the only English footballer to openly declare his homosexuality, was disowned by his brother John Fashanu and subjected to a great deal of homophobic abuse; he took his own life in 1998.
Emilie Griffith, a welterweight in the 1960s who was the first boxer from the US Virgin Islands ever to become a world champion, is another tragic figure. He managed to keep his bisexuality largely hidden from the public despite being seen by Alan Hubbard, a sports writer, “passionately kissing one of his cornermen”. Continue reading on the Telegraph website