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Israeli pro basketball player comes out as bisexual on Israel's Independence Day

Gili Mosinzon celebrates day as his own independence.

Gili Mosinzon
Gili Mosinzon
Facebook via JTA

A star Israeli pro basketball player came out as bisexual on Israel's Independence Day, May 12, in a post on Facebook.

Gili Mosinzon, 37, wrote that "having woken up straight into the independence celebrations of my beloved country, it seemed to me to make perfect sense to post a proud, revealing picture of my face on Atraf — a gay website. The site isn't new to me. It's only new to you." Atraf is a mobile gay meeting app akin to Grindr or Scruff.

In his post (written in Hebrew), Mosinzon criticized a sports culture that is still homophobic.

"Many old-school coaches today still berate players for running like homos, or sissies," he wrote. "That's homophobia in 2016. Unless sports bosses apply an orderly program, sports homophobia will be here, unchanged, also in 2046.

"In male professional sports, you can count the number of players who came out of the closet on one hand. Some killed themselves. Why? Ask the coaches, the chairmen and the audience why pro athletes don't come out. I'll tell you why. They're afraid."

One of his former coaches, Yossi Ben Akan, wrote on Facebook: "Dear brother, I love you, you're the most colorful, the wackiest guy I know. I'm glad you wrote about what was on your chest. Stunning photo, you hunk."

The Haaretz newspaper wrote why Mosinzon's coming out was important:

It's important to listen to Mosinzon's criticism, because men's sports in Israel - particularly the more popular sports that draw large crowds - indeed suffer from public displays of homophobia. From the stands, one can periodically hear calls of "Faggot!" aimed at players, coaches and referees as part of the culture of baiting. Coaches regularly use terms such as "We played like men" or "I have a gang of men" to describe dedication, effort and daring. As a result, anyone who's not a "man" in this conservative sense is liable to feel he has no place in a sports club or a professional sports environment.

It's cool that Mosinzon picked his country's independence day to declare his own and criticisms of coaches and management for abetting homophobia was spot on.