The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on
Tuesday announced that Michael Sam will be honored at its national
Time to THRIVE conference in February.
to THRIVE, which takes place February 13-15 in Portland, attracts
hundreds of people who play crucial roles in the lives of LGBT youth.
Page came out during last year's event.
“We are excited and privileged to
recognize Michael Sam, and his brave commitment to leading an
authentic life in a profession that has been historically unwelcoming
to LGBT people,” Vincent Pompei, chair of Time to THRIVE, said
in a statement. “By coming out, Michael sent an invaluable
message to young LGBT Americans that anything is possible for them –
even playing in the NFL.”
Sam, the first openly gay player to be
drafted by the NFL, said that he was honored to be a part of the
“I know first-hand what it's like to
live and come out in spaces where being LGBTQ isn't accepted, much
less celebrated,” Sam said. “So I understand the challenges that
many of today's LGBTQ youth are facing – from bullying to family
rejection, even homelessness. These are heartbreaking problems that
no child, no young person should have to face alone, and that people
like teachers, counselors and social workers are uniquely positioned
to help overcome.”
“I'm honored to be part of such an
important conference, where the concerns of LGBTQ youth –
particularly youth of color – are being elevated, and where the
educators and professionals who serve them have a unique opportunity
to learn how to better meet those needs. I truly believe that events
like Time to THRIVE can help create a better, more hopeful future for
LGBTQ youth,” he added.