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Jason Collins Blasts Indiana's Anti-Gay 'License To Discriminate' Bill: VIDEO

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Jason Collins, the first openly gay pro athlete in the four major North American sports leagues, has spoken out against Indiana’s recently passed “License To Discriminate” bill, reports IndyStar.

By a vote of 63-31, the Indiana House of Representatives yesterday passed the bill which allows private businesses, individuals and organizations to discriminate against LGBT individuals on religious grounds.

.@GovPenceIN, is it going to be legal for someone to discriminate against me & others when we come to the #FinalFour? http://t.co/uBlKbIf8YK

— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins98) March 23, 2015

Governor Mike Pence says he is "looking forward" to signing the bill.

Collins, who has been mentoring other young, gay basketball players who have yet to come out of the closet, played for 13 seasons in the NBA for multiple teams, including the New Jersey Nets.

Watch the trailer for new documentary Out to Win, which provides insight into the lives of LGBT athletes including Collins, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Wade Davis and Brittney Griner, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Jason Collins Has Been Mentoring Other LGBT Athletes Who Have Yet To Come Out Of The Closet: VIDEO

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Jason Collins has been busy since becoming the NBA’s first openly gay player and subsequently retiring from the league. Since leaving the sport, Collins explained in an interview with The New York Daily News he’s spent his time mentoring other young, queer basketball players who have yet to come out of the closet.

“I’m in contact with other athletes, collegiate and professionally who are members of the LGBT community who maybe aren't ready to come out publicly but they have in their private lives,” Collins explained. “At this point it’s up to each individual person who has their life to live.”

He continued:

“I would hope that one day they do come out, especially while they’re active because you can see from my example, you can see from Robbie Rogers in soccer, you can have the best of both worlds.

I know there are more members of the LGBT community who haven’t yet stepped forward and (I’m) encouraging them that when they do that the world is ready to accept them and support them. As far as the NBA goes- the NBA is an incredible league. Basketball is a sport of inclusion and diversity and I hope they’re able to know how good it will be to be able to live their lives that they want off the court and also be able to have their job on the court.”

Watch Jason Collins speak with Chris Hayes about his newfound role as a mentor to young, closeted athletes AFTER THE JUMP...

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Former High School Football Star Explains Why He Got 'It Gets Better' Tattoo After Coming Out

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The words "It Gets Better" mean so much to Dalton Ray that he got them tattooed on his arm. 

Ray is a former high school football star who's now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

In a post for OutSports, Ray recounts how he struggled with his sexual orientation — both on and off the field — before finally coming out during his junior year of high school:  

Middle school was a challenge, but high school was the true battle for me. Subtle feelings turned into everyday thoughts. It increasingly became clear this wasn't just a phase for me.

To make it even worse I started hearing my peers, including some of my closest friends, use terms like "gay", "faggot", and "queer" to describe when something was stupid or wrong. Eventually that's how I felt - I felt like something was wrong with me, and worst of all I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror because I was so ashamed of who I was. ... 

One saying that has guided me through all of this: "It Gets Better." It's hard to realize that when you're stuck in the middle of the country hearing gay slurs every day. As I opened up my true self to people, I learned the power and truth of those three words. It's meant so much that I tattooed it on my arm.

In an "It Gets Better" video accompanying his OutSports piece, Ray — who also competed in basketball and track — says he didn't think it was possible to be an openly gay athlete until he became one:

Ray"I had this huge misconception that you couldn't be in sports and also be gay. That's wrong. That's completely, utterly wrong. I think once I actually came out I became a better athlete. I became a better competitor. I also became a better friend, a better brother, a better son, because I was finally being honest with not just everyone around me, but being honest with myself, and that's an extremely important part of life."  

Ray also has a powerful message for LGBT youth who are contemplating suicide:

"A bad day doesn't mean you have a bad life. If you don't think people wouldn't miss you, you're completely wrong, because you have friends and family and people in your lives that would miss you so much, so don't make them know what it feels like to live without you, because you're special, you're unique, you're an awesome person, and it gets better."

Read Ray's full article here and watch his "It Gets Better" video, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Powerful MLK Video from the NBA Features 'Barrier Breaker' Jason Collins: WATCH

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The NBA is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a video called "Barrier Breakers" showcasing many of the league's firsts including the first out gay player Jason Collins.

Writes the league:

The NBA has a strong history of firsts when it comes to breaking down racial barriers and proverbial glass ceilings. In this spot, we explore the strides made within the NBA that not only embody Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but the overall guiding principles of the Civil Rights movement.

Watch the powerful clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via jmg)

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Lesbian Basketball Players Sue Pepperdine University For Discrimination, 'Mental Anguish' - VIDEO

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Pepperdine University basketball players Haley Videckis and Layana White are suing their head coach and the school for alleged civil rights violations regarding their sexual orientation, reports OutSports.

Pepperdine, a private religious school in California which is allegedly in receipt of some public funding, says its purpose is to pursue the highest academic standards "within the context that celebrates and extends the spiritual and ethical ideals of the Christian faith."

Back in 2012, the Malibu-based university blocked the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance called 'Reach Out' because Dean of Students Mark Davis said homosexuality is against "God's Will".

Videckis and White claim they were harassed for being in a relationship with each other. They allege the mental anguish ultimately led to a suicide attempt by White.

The two are suing coach Ryan Weisenberg and the university for violating their civil right to privacy and for violations of a 1972 California law which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities.

The complaint alleges that coach Weisenberg said "Lesbianism is not tolerated on this team” and is “a big concern in women's basketball."

In a statement released over the weekend, the university said”

“We take allegations of this kind very seriously. We conducted an immediate and thorough investigation and found no evidence to support these claims. The University remains committed to a diverse and inclusive environment.”

Watch Videckis discuss a game victory back in February, AFTER THE JUMP...

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UMass Player Derrick Gordon Becomes First Openly Gay Athlete to Play in Division 1 Men's Basketball

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University of Massachusetts shooting guard Derrick Gordon made history last night becoming the first openly gay athlete to play in a NCAA Division I men's basketball game, The New York Times reports:

Gordon finished with 17 points as UMass defeated Siena, 95-87, in front of a crowd of 8,187, the largest at Mullins Center to open a season since 1997.

“I went into it like a regular game,” he said. “I’ve been here before.”

Gordon came out as gay back in April in an Outsports profile. Since then, he's amassed quite a following and is often seen sporting a Nike #BeTrue t-shirt. 

In a recent interview with the Boston Herald, Gordon discussed how much it meant to him to see NBA player Jason Collins come out as gay after the 2012-2013 season.

Gordon1“Everything leads to the NBA for me, and I didn’t want my dreams to be shattered because of my sexuality,” Gordon said. “So when I saw him come out, that inspired me.

“I said, ‘If he’s in the NBA and he’s openly gay then maybe I can be the same way,’ ” Gordon said. “And when he played for Brooklyn, I saw a YouTube video of him coming into the game and the whole crowd stood up and applauded. It was, like, man, he has a lot of people supporting him. That did it for me.

Back in May, it was reported Gordon was dating CSI actor Gerrald McCullouch. 

Check out an interview Gordon did with MSNBC after his coming out, AFTER THE JUMP...

[Image via The Daily Collegian]

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