Thomas Gilbert, a professional disc golfer, had a simple message written above his photo on an Instagram post this weekend: “I’m gay.”

I’ve been part of this sport for the last 6 years of my life. During this time I have grown into an elite player and have met some of the best friends and fans I could have ever asked for! I love everything about this sport from the gamesmanship to the tight community we all know and love!

Therefore I feel like it’s time to come out to you all, and let you know that I am gay.

To me coming out is not something that should be feared or considered abnormal. I hope that my openness allows us as a sport to show the love and acceptance that we have in the disc golf community for other athletes that might struggle to be as open!

Thanks everyone so much and I love you all!

Gilbert, 22 from Toronto, is the top-ranked Canadian disc golfer, with 23 wins and $47,000 in career earnings. The sport uses basically the same rules as golf, with players throwing a disc into a metal basket instead of putting a ball into a hole. He has been playing the sport for six years and at the elite level for the past three years.

He told Outsports that the reaction has “been all positive,” which is reflected in the 14,445 likes for his Instagram post and more than 1,200 comments, many adorned with a red heart.

“Over the past year I have come out to my family and close friends and figured it was time to go public since I am the first male athlete at the elite level to do so,” Gilbert said. “I also think it was a very big step for the sport of disc golf.”

You can follow Gilbert on Instagram.

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