Orlando Cruz: Boxing’s FIRST openly gay athlete

           Orlando Cruz (also known as El Fenomeno) is a Puerto Rican professional boxer, who made his professional debut in December of 2000 against Alfredo Valdez. Cruz also represented Puerto Rico as an amateur at the Olympic Games in Australia in 2000. As we all know it takes a brave spirit to openly admit that he/she is gay--(especially when you're an athlete/star/person in the public eye etc.) Cruz is currently ranked at No. 4 among featherweights by the World Boxing Organization and has a record of 18-2-1. It's evident that this guy has a relatively good and flourishing career ahead of him, so when he issued this statement in a press release on Wednesday some media and fans were...well, SHOCKED:
“I’ve been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself. I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”  
This statement alone would make him the first openly gay competitor in boxing history! Wow  I can't believe we are almost in 2013 and there are still "firsts" (especially like this) being made. But hey, I couldn't respect Mr. Cruz more just for the amount of courage it took him to make this statement. Although homosexuality has been around since the beginning of time, this is still an extremely controversial topic. I can't help but wonder if this will hurt Orlando's career or in fact push it along. For those of you who don't really understand it, let me put it this way: Homosexuality is still taboo in the sports industry! 
"The stigma among teammates is real, and the controversy over gay rights issues is circulating widely in the sports world." -Yahoo Sports 
I couldn't have said it any better myself Continued statement from Cruz via ESPN: 
“I don’t want to hide any of my identities,” he said. “I want people to look at me for the human being that I am. I am a professional sportsman that always brings his best to the ring. I want for people to continue to see me for my boxing skills, my character, my sportsmanship. But I also want kids who suffer from bullying to know that you can be whoever you want to be in life, including a professional boxer, that anything is possible and that who you are or whom you love should not be impediment to achieving anything in life. “I want to thank my family, especially my mom, who’s my inspiration and my best reason to continue to live and my brother and my sister. I want to thank my friends for their love and support. And I also want to thank my team for believing in me and being so supportive not only in this decision, but throughout my career. I am and will always be a proud Puerto Rican gay man.”  
Now we're just waiting on some of these rappers to come on out of that closet too! (i.e. Lil Wayne...I mean who calls themselves Lil Tunechi???) Nonetheless It is said that Orlando Cruz will discuss his big announcement and any possible "ramifications" in a televised interview next week. On thing is for sure, you have our support Orlando and I have only one question for you... How did you celebrate gay pride? Your Jersey Girlfriend, Ivy K.
   

Author: Jersey Girl Sports

Jersey Girl Sports is a lifestyle brand dedicated to the millions of women who like to watch sports. We present sports from the female perspective--the way we see it, how we talk about it and what we have to say about it. It's sports on OUR terms. We can enjoy sports as much as any man, just with better shoes.

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