In accepting an award celebrating LGBT
rights pioneers, Jason Collins, the NBA's first openly gay player,
called coming out “a gift that you give yourself.”
Logo TV's Trailblazers,
which coincided with the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's
decision striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA), also honored the women behind the case – Edith Windsor and
Roberta Kaplan – and the cast of the Netflix hit series Orange
is the New Black.
Clinton calls Edith Windsor, Roberta Kaplan “true trailblazers.”)
Former 'Nsyncer Lance Bass and Jason Marsden of the Matthew Shepard
Foundation introduced Collins.
“Thanks to each and every one of you for making one of the hardest
decisions of my life the single most rewarding thing I have ever
done,” Collins said.
“Now in one sense that may sound a little selfish but the simple
fact is, at the end of the day, coming out is a gift that you give
yourself. It's the gift of shrugging off the burden of a secret.
And when you don't know exactly what the truth will bring, it's the
gift of standing a little bit taller on the court, or in the school,
or in church – wherever – and knowing that no matter how everyone
else is looking at you, they're actually seeing you for who you truly
“The best kinds of gifts are the ones you can share with everyone.
When you stand a little bit taller, somebody always notices.
Somebody who needed that hope really badly. When you live a little
bit more honestly, a gay or transgender or lesbian teenager can see
more clearly that the world really is getting better.”
“Coming out is really difficult. But [if] I've learned one thing
from all of this, [it] is that the only thing harder is staying in
the closet. … Coming out is a gift you can give yourself that can
also help change the entire world,” he added. (The video is
embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)