Orlando Cruz becomes first active, out gay male boxer in history. - MensTennisForums.com

 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Orlando Cruz becomes first active, out gay male boxer in history.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports...945_story.html

Cruz at peace after becoming first active pro boxer to say he’s gay


For more years than he wanted to count, Orlando Cruz kept it a secret as best he could. He thought he had no choice, because of who he is and what he does.

Cruz is a fighter, and a pretty good one at that. He won 179 amateur bouts and represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Olympics. By the time this year is over, he hopes to hold a piece of the world title at 126 pounds

But his legacy won’t be defined with wins and losses, or gaudy green belts. Cruz made sure of that last week by saying words no professional boxer had ever dared utter before.

“I have always been, and always will be, a proud gay man,” Cruz said.

The words came easy, because for Cruz it was way past time. He was tired of hiding who he was, tired of trying to pretend he was something else.

He came out to the world, and to his next opponent and the one after that. Then he held his breath and waited to see just how far society has really come.

It didn’t take long to get an answer.

The best fighter in Puerto Rico, Miguel Cotto, reached out to offer encouragement and support to his former Olympic teammate. Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin — who came out himself two years ago — sent him a text offering the same.

And the rest of the boxing world more or less just yawned.

“People say, ‘It’s OK, Orlando, don’t worry,’” Cruz said in a phone conversation from Puerto Rico “They tell me, ‘It’s your life and we support you.’”

That could change, of course, depending on who Cruz faces in the ring and how they view the issue of sexual orientation. It won’t be until he actually fights — something he is scheduled to do two weeks in Florida — that Cruz will get a better idea how being publicly gay in the most macho of all sports will eventually play out.

It’s uncharted territory, because no active male athlete in any major sport has ever come out before. To have it happen in the sport of boxing — where fighters still routinely taunt their opponents with gay slurs — is almost unthinkable.

But if boxing can live with a gay fighter, could the NFL, Major League Baseball or the NBA be next?

Not likely, because there is still a stigma against homosexuality in major sports played by males. Cruz will have to deal with his own issues after coming out, but he doesn’t have teammates he has to win over in the locker room.

That doesn’t minimize what Cruz did, or the courage it took to do it. The 31-year-old has been fighting since he was a kid, but this is one fight he couldn’t take on alone.

He spoke to psychologists, talked with his family. They were all supportive, but in the end the decision was his and his alone to make.

“I don’t want to hide any of my identities,” Cruz said. “I want people to look at me for the human being I am.”

The decision by Cruz to come out comes 50 years after Emile Griffith — who would later say he enjoyed the company of both men and women — was taunted with a gay slur by Benny Paret at the weigh-in at Madison Square Garden for their welterweight title fight. Griffith would go on to knock out Paret with a savage series of punches in the 12th round, and was still celebrating when Paret was taken from the ring on a stretcher.

Paret died 10 days later in the hospital, something that has haunted Griffith ever since. In a 2005 interview with The New York Times, though, Griffith said he wanted to give Paret a beating for what he said.

“He called me a name. ... So I did what I had to do,” Griffith said.

Cruz said he won’t respond to any slurs, and isn’t concerned what his opponent thinks or says. He’s the No. 4 ranked featherweight by the WBO and is focused on resurrecting a career that floundered when he was stopped in two straight fights in 2009-10.

He believes he is good enough to win a world title and, should he win his next fight, would be in line for a shot at the interim WBO belt.

“I don’t care if the other guy is homophobic,” Cruz said. “My focus and concentration will always be on winning the fight. I am hungry now, very hungry to become a world champion.”

He has already become a champion of gay rights activists, who cheered when he came out. And he hopes that kids who are bullied will see what he did and understand that who you are or who you love shouldn’t be a barrier to what you can accomplish.

He’s happy with himself, pleased with what he’s done. Instead of dreading what might come next, Cruz feels a sense of liberation and relief.

For the first time in his life, he has nothing to hide.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Orlando Cruz becomes first active, out gay male boxer in history.

Here's another article and interview with Orlando:
http://keepingscore.blogs.time.com/2.../orlando-cruz/

Orlando Cruz Comes Out as First Openly Gay Professional Boxer

Featherweight Orlando Cruz is being called the bravest man in boxing — and not because of his work in the ring. Cruz has come out as the first openly gay active professional boxer in the sport’s history. “I have always been and always will be a proud gay man,” he said in a public announcement on the evening of Oct. 3.

Cruz, 31, competed at the 2000 Olympics and is currently the fourth-ranked featherweight in the world, according to the World Boxing Organization.

“This is something that I’ve been contemplating for years,” the Puerto Rican boxer told TIME, in Spanish. “It’s a difficult decision for many people, but I want to be me. I want to be Orlando Cruz, and I don’t want to pretend.”

Cruz’s announcement came with the twin goals of being true to himself and being a better role model for young fans. He says he has encountered homophobia in the boxing world, but he declines to elaborate on the form that the discrimination took. (And on Thursday, boxing fans on Twitter were not universally happy about Cruz’s news; one fan wrote that Cruz “messed up his whole career [and] he will really be the most avoided boxer.”) His family has known of his sexual orientation for years, and he said he was very happy with his decision to come out — and the positive messages of support he has received from fans and fellow pugilists alike only boost that confidence. “It has to come from you,” he says of choosing the right time to come out. “Every person has that decision to make for themselves.”

But while coming out is a personal decision, there are wider benefits to doing so, says Cyd Zeigler Jr., president of Outsports, the Web hub for the gay sports community. “What athletes say and what they do and how they live their lives has an affect on our culture,” says Zeigler. “When gay athletes come out of the closet and straight athletes come out in support of gay rights, those actions and those words have a reverberating effect. It opens eyes.”

The eye-opening is particularly true for a sport like boxing, which Zeigler says is, along with football, “probably the last place you would think there would be an openly gay athlete.” And — even though, USA Today notes, boxer Emile Griffith came out as bisexual after his career was over; even though NFL players like Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe have recently spoken up in support of marriage equality — that stereotype has persisted until now. And stereotypes work both ways: media portrayals of gay people can often be dominated by clichés that could be knocked out by men like Orlando Cruz. Zeigler says that, as a kid, he thought he couldn’t possibly be gay because he didn’t like “Broadway and Cher and Madonna.” An athlete who was both tough and gay in his public life would have been — as Cruz hopes to be — a good role model.

But Zeigler says that while he was swarmed with e-mails and tweets after the announcement, he wasn’t shocked that Cruz came out. “I’m not surprised because our culture has changed,” he says. “There’s probably still this idea for other athletes that they don’t want to get beaten by a gay man, but gay people are everywhere.”

And Cruz, despite the big decision he made, is similarly calm. He has other things to focus on now, like his next match, on Oct. 19 in Kissimmee, Fla., against Jorge Pazos. He’s still the same fighter as always, a man who’s been boxing for more than two decades. “I’m just looking for people to respect me as the professional that I am when I get inside the ring,” he says. “This happens to be my job.”
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 12:52 AM
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Re: Orlando Cruz becomes first active, out gay male boxer in history.

You're supporting a great cause Filo! But can't these be put all into 1 thread?

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Orlando Cruz becomes first active, out gay male boxer in history.

Orlando is brave and a global hero. His step will make is easier for other athletes because they won't be the "first" one competing at such a worldclass level to be out. A lot of pressure is on his shoulders from media but the weight of the world is officially off his shoulders. Hopefully his bravery doesn't end up with him losing opponents. Regardless of what happens with his career, he is a major winner in the hearts and minds of millions.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Orlando Cruz becomes first active, out gay male boxer in history.

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Originally Posted by Freak3yman84 View Post
You're supporting a great cause Filo! But can't these be put all into 1 thread?
Yes they can........I'll let Scooby Doo do it and name the title appropriately
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 12:55 AM
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Re: Orlando Cruz becomes first active, out gay male boxer in history.

Give the man a medal already. Admitting that he's into boys deserves to be rewarded by an alcohol fueled party with some fine hookers keeping him company to celebrate his last night of being straight
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 01:19 AM
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Re: Orlando Cruz becomes first active, out gay male boxer in history.

Good news I guess, though a part of me suspects it's just because he couldn't stand the shame of being a straight guy being named Orlando Cruz
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 01:40 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Orlando Cruz becomes first active, out gay male boxer in history.

Good point. A man with the last name Cruz is almost destined to be a gay one.

Jokes aside, he's amazing and I have so much respect for him.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 01:57 AM
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Re: Orlando Cruz becomes first active, out gay male boxer in history.

common story... more thread pollution from filo.v... a lot of guys enjoy getting beat up around the ring...

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