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Chilean pro basketball player Daniel Arcos comes out as gay

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‘I decided to love and value myself,’ pro basketball player Daniel Arcos says about coming out as gay.

Daniel Arcos plays pro basketball in Chile’s top league.
Daniel Arcos plays pro basketball in Chile’s top league.
Daniel Arcos Instagram page

Declaring himself “proud and free,” Daniel Arcos, a pro basketball player from Chile, came out Wednesday as gay in an Instagram post.

Arcos, 26, a 6-3 small forward for the CD Castro team in the top Chile pro basketball league, posted a three-page letter on Instagram in which he talked about his struggles to accept himself but decided the time to make a statement was now.

A few hours later, Arcos posted a photo of himself smiling and holding a basketball with a message that included emojis of the rainbow flag, a grinning face and a basketball: “Thank each of the messages of support, signs of affection and respect. The tranquility that I have with myself is incredible. ️‍ #pride.”

The Homosexual Movement of Integration and Liberation (MOVILH), Chile’s leading LGBTQ rights group, said Arcos is “making a significant contribution to other players who may find themselves in a situation of grief or pain for not being able to reveal who they are.”

Thanks to Outsports reader Brian Pascal, here are excerpts from what Arcos wrote on Instragram, lightly edited for clarity:

I waited for this day for a long time, a personal challenge with new [rainbow] colors on my shirt, colors that before I looked with shame and that today I decide to wear with pride. Despite the passage of time, there is still a taboo in sports, which in my case is basketball. ...

I remember walking one afternoon after having had an experience with another man. I had feelings of guilt, I felt bad, lonely, as if I had done something really bad. I was afraid to share it with someone and be judged, as I was already doing with myself. I continued with my “normal life,” with a lot of sport and study, hoping that time would take care of doing its thing, giving me the necessary tranquility and that it would remain as one more experience of those that become part of our lives.

My life continued, and I kept growing and meeting goals. In the field of professional basketball, little by little, I started to earn my place. ... An athlete’s life not only involves games with victories or defeats, but also brings with it a lifestyle that delivers everything. Several times it made me feel out of place, and I felt that I could not really be who I was. ...

I avoided uncomfortable questions, I lied and silenced myself when I thought that something was not fair, thus seeking to fit in, feel part of, be one of my teammates, since many times homosexuality was manifested as mockery and insult, synonymous for “weakness and little manhood.” This discomfort was the reason that I thought of abandoning this beautiful sport. ...

Many days and nights I had recurring thoughts and was tired, so I decided to love and value myself. It was time to move forward. I began to tell my close friends, then my family, always with the fear of being judged. My sister, mother, father and friends all has the same response: “You just have to be happy, I am here for you, the rest does not matter.” These were words that help me forgive everything I have lived in the past and that today give me the courage to write this. ...

I know that this message might generate ridicule, discomfort and even hate, but I have the privilege of having my family and friends on my team. I decide to take off this heavy backpack that I carried for years, but that at the same time made me very strong. Everyone has their experiences and they experience them in their own way, but the important thing is to live as we want as long as we are happy. ...

I want to be part of the change and build a society in which we treat each other with respect and can be happy. I am willing to face what comes despite the uncertainty that exists with what may happen after publishing this, but I think we are in time to continue moving forward and eliminate closets that should not exist. ...

I am convinced that sport can include us all ... but as long as issues like this are not visible and made natural it will be difficult to advance. ... Respect is essential and the minimum we need to live in a better society free of prejudice.

Daniel Arcos Obando # 9.