Orlando Cruz (right) lost a NABO Featherweight title fight in 2009 to Cornelius Lock.
The featherweight boxer from Puerto Rico is ranked number 4 by the World Boxing Organization, and he's now the first openly gay man in the sport's history. Cruz told USA Today that being gay is just another part of his identity: "I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man."
Megan Rapinoe celebrates a goal during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The gold medal–winning U.S. Olympic soccer player first said she is a lesbian during an interview with Out magazine in July, then the star was quickly profiled in numerous places. She is also a midfielder for the Seattle Sounders Women. “I feel everyone is really craving [for] people to come out. People want — they need — to see that there are people like me playing soccer for the good ol’ U.S. of A.”
Lori Lindsey, number 16, celebrates a goal during this year's Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Shortly after Rapinoe, Olympic teammate Lindsey came out during an interview with Autostraddle. Her mother is a lesbian who has been with her partner for more than 25 years. “A lot of people would push me and say, ‘Lori, you should contact people, you should come out. It's important. Every LGBTQ person should be out and proud. That is so important for our community,’” Lindsey said. “And I agree wholeheartedly with that.”
Josh Dixon competes on the high bar in 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials.
This time, the elite gymnast didn't make the cut for the six spots on the U.S. men's Olympic team. But his decision to come out was inspiring nonetheless, and Dixon says it took longer to realize because of his dedication to his sport. “It was literally go to school, do your homework, go to practice, relax, and try to hang out with friends on the weekend,” Dixon told Out magazine. “Being gay was something that I hadn’t figured out or experienced before. I think it was something that I didn’t want to take on. My plate was full already. But college was definitely about learning and growing.”
Guard Seimone Augustus celebrates a gold medal win during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Minnesota Lynx basketball star announced in an interview in May with The Advocate that she is getting married to a woman. The ceremony is planned for summer 2013. Augustus said that's what encouraged her to come out publicly as a lesbian.
The Australian football player came out in September as part of his call for the league to show an anti-homophobia ad during the Grand Final — the AFL's championship. "I’d like to tell you what it’s like being a gay footy player, because today there’s a real chance we could begin to change the culture of homophobia in the AFL."
Stephany Lee, left, wrestles during the Olympic Trials.
The wrestler had finally made the U.S. Olympic team after unsuccessful attempts in 2004 and 2008. She married her wife the day after Olympic trials. “If I made this team or I didn’t make this team, I was still going to marry my wife, Brigg,” she said in an interview in June with The Advocate. But Lee never made it to the games after being dismissed for testing positive for marijuana use.
Ji Wallace of Australia celebrates in Sydney in 2000 after winning silver in the Men's Trampoline.
A former Olympian in the trampoline competition from Australia said he was inspired by diver Greg Louganis and newsman Anderson Cooper when he came out in August as both HIV-positive and gay. "Being seen does have value. A voice does have value," he wrote. "I have the support of my boyfriend, my great friends and my loving parents. Many do not and this is, in part, for them."
Karen Hultzer in action during the Female Archery Individual Ranking Round in London.
The South African archer came out publicly for the first time in a statement to OutSports just before the Olympic games. She was leery that the detail about her life would define her as an athlete. "I am an archer, middle-aged and a lesbian," she said. "I am also cranky before my first cup of coffee. None of these aspects define who I am, they are simply part of me."
The mixed martial arts fighter spent years on the American Top Team and told Sports Illustrated in May that she is bisexual. "I don't put it in any titles," said Aguilar, "but I'd say when I've found the right person — whether it's a man or a woman — I'd be happy."
The former NFL player, who spent time with the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, and Seattle Seahawks, came out during an interview with OutSports. Now, as an openly gay man, he works with LGBT youth at the Hetrick-Martin Institute. He told The Advocate in August that staying in the closet was largely his own decision. "I wouldn't say I ever felt pressure from my teammates or anything else," Davis said. "I think all of the pressure was really internalized. I felt like I lived in constant fear of someone finding out."