No openly gay male has ever been nominated for an ESPY Award. Until now.
Pro Bowler Scott Norton, who came out publicly in 2011, has been nominated for the Best Bowler ESPY (you can vote here). No currently out gay man has ever been nominated for an ESPY either before or after coming out publicly.
"After such a monumental week for LGBT rights, what an incredible feeling to be a part of something to take us a step even further towards equality," Norton told Outsports. "I am so excited to be the first of what I hope will be a long line of world-class openly gay male athletes nominated for this prestigious award."
Also nominated for the Best Bowler ESPY are Jason Belmonte and Pete Weber. Norton is currently fourth in overall points on the PBA Tour; Belmonte is first, having bowled three more tournaments than Norton. All three men have been the PBA's rookie of the year: Norton in 2011, Belmonte in 2009, and Weber when Jimmy Carter was still the President of the United States.
Norton was made nationally famous when ESPN aired video of him kissing his partner, Craig Woodward, after a tournament earlier this year; It's believed to be the first celebratory "gay kiss" ESPN has ever aired. They talk about the moment in the video below.
Brittney Griner is also nominated Best Female Athlete and for Best Female College Athlete.
Several out lesbians have been nominated for ESPY Awards. Martina Navratilova has twice been nominated as Best Female Tennis Player; Amelie Mauresmo was also been nominated. Sheryl Swoopes was nominated for Best Female Athlete, and won Best WNBA Player, in 2006, nine months after she came out publicly as lesbian (before taking it back). Seimone Augustus was nominated three times, all before she came out publicly. Billie Jean King received the Arthur Ashe Award in 1999.
You can help Norton become the first gay ESPY winner! Click on this link to vote for Norton to receive the Best Bowler ESPY, and click on the links above to vote for Griner!
Previously, we caught up with Norton and his partner to talk about "the kiss" and the meaning of the repeal of Prop 8:
Gay pro bowler Scott Norton on marriage, Prop 8 and "the kiss" (via Outsports com)