Professional Bowler Anthony Pepe came out as gay on his Facebook page yesterday, telling friends and followers that he is proud to be gay:

The text messages are unbearable so I mine as well share with you all.
I've held back my entire life from who I am as a human being, was never truly happy because I was hiding my true authentic self. During my adolescents I thought about how it would be to not be on this earth anymore because no one would understand the pain I was going through. I can't believe I'm saying this after 26 years but God made me a beautiful, respectful, genuine gay man. He also created everyone equally so if you can't respect me go ahead and unfriend me out of your lives. With such an anti-homosexuality society, I'd rather choose to be straight (sadly saying). But I'm proud of myself for being gay, for being me. Hope everyone still loves me.
Happy birthday Mom.

The "text messages" were questions he had been receiving from friends and loved ones after he posted pictures of himself and a new potential love interest, Pepe told Outsports. It's awesome that he would also include a birthday message to his mom in what is his "coming-out post."

His coming-out Facebook message has already received "over 1,450 likes and 460 comments," Pepe said. "Typing those numbers is overwhelming in itself. To have a big support system behind me is something I always prayed and hoped for before posting my coming out. Reading the comments of people whom I've never even met giving me comfort and love is extremely heartfelt."

Pepe won his first PBA tournament last December at the PBA World Series of Bowling Cheetah Championship, which was also his first televised tournament. He lives in Elmhurst, N.Y., in Queens.

Pepe is sponsored by Storm, a bowling-products company.

Pepe joins out gay professional bowler Scott Norton, who came out as gay several years ago. ESPN later showed Norton kissing his husband after a tournament win, which we believe was the first time ESPN showed a "gay kiss."