Brittney Griner came out as gay on Wednesday, just two days after becoming the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft.
Though she never discussed the matter publicly before, Griner delved into her sexuality in an interview published Wednesday. The 6-foot-8 center from Baylor University was asked by SI.com why women’s sports seemed more accepting of openly gay athletes, while there has yet to be an open player in major men’s American sports.
“I really couldn’t give an answer on why that’s so different,” Griner said. “Being one that’s out, it’s just being who you are. Again, like I said, just be who you are.”
Brittney Griner said other gay athletes can’t worry about what other people think or say because “they’re always going to say something.”
Griner added that she didn’t think about her status as one of the top female athletes when deciding to come out.
“It really wasn’t too difficult,” she said. “I wouldn’t say I was hiding or anything like that. I’ve always been open about who I am and my sexuality. So, it wasn’t hard at all. If I can show that I’m out and I’m fine and everything’s OK, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way.”
Griner said she encountered some bullying based on her height and sexual orientation but grew a thick skin to it.
“Just being bigger, my sexuality, everything,” she told the AP. “I overcame it and got over it. Definitely something that I am very passionate about. I want to work with kids and bring recognition to the problem, especially with the LGBT community.”
Brittney Griner comes out just as a major discussion has started in men’s sports about openly gay athletes. There are reportedly NFL players who are considering coming out soon, and the NHL recently partnered with LGBT groups to promote a more gay-friendly league.
Brittney Griner, who was drafted No. 1 in Monday’s WNBA draft by the Phoenix Mercury, said her parents helped give her the confidence to come out as gay.