First HBCU football player to come out as gay shares powerful message: ‘Life is precious’

An American football player has made history as the first at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to come out publicly as gay.

Byron Perkins (Byron Perkins / Instagram)



Byron Perkins, a defensive back who plays Division I football at Hampton University, Virginia, has become the first football player at an HBCU to come out.

Perkins made his reveal in an Instagram post, where he said: “I have come to understand that life is precious and I could be gone at any moment, therefore, I will no longer be living a lie.

“No one should have to live a life crippled by what society thinks.”

In an interview with OutSports, Perkins said he wanted to set an example for other Black gay male athletes who might be struggling with their own identity.

“They need a support system. There hasn’t been an out gay football athlete at an HBCU. I want to end the stigma of what people think. I want people to know they can be themselves,” he said.

“I’ve been self-reflective and trying to prioritize what makes me happy and makes me feel alive. I thought it could be just football and school, but there was a component missing.

“And recently I’ve been able to figure out that I haven’t been fully happy because everyone didn’t know who I was. Authenticity is everything to me.”

His coming out follows last year’s reveal from Carl Nassib, who also came out to fans on Instagram.

Nassib posted at the time: “I’m at my house in West Chester, Pa. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but finally feel comfortable getting it off my chest.”

This made Nassib the first NFL star to come out as gay.

Hampton University is one of the oldest HBCUs in America, founded by freed Black Americans after the Civil War.



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