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Hampton’s Byron Perkins Becomes First HBCU Football Player To Come Out As Gay

‘Authenticity Is Everything To Me’ said the junior defensive back in an Instagram story.

Byron Perkins, a Hampton University defensive back, said in a social media post that he is  gay, making him the first football player from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to publicly come out.

Via his Instagram stories, according to OutSports, Perkins says that he’s finally able to be himself. "I’ve been self-reflective and trying to prioritize what makes me happy and makes me feel alive,” Perkins said. “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.

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“I’m gay, let it be known that this is not a ‘decision’ or a ‘choice.’ Yes, this is who I am, this is who I’ve been, and this is who I’m going to be. Simply put, I am who I am," he added.

A redshirt junior from Chicago, Perkins was formerly on the roster at Purdue and has had 16 tackles and one interception for the 4-2 Pirates this season. He says his teammates and coaches have supported him since coming out.

"Especially at an HBCU, young Black gay men need an outlet,” he said. “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. It’s about that kid who’s going to see this and think he can be himself too.”

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