Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sean Karson

Still regarded as one of the riskiest environments for coming out, the closet door in team sports is beginning to crack open a bit. Sean Karson is the starting third baseman on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology baseball team as well as co-captain. He had a .350 batting average last year and a seven-game hitting streak in which he hit .540. During an indoor practice earlier this month, Karson asked coach Andy Barlow if he could say a few words to his teammates.

“I had no idea what he had in mind,” Barlow said. “He had just returned from a conference in California, so I assumed he was going to talk about that.”

Instead, Karson stood up and told his coaches and teammates that he’s gay.

“They came up and gave me high fives and said they’d have my back and everything,” Karson said. “It was so supportive, it was ridiculous.”

Karson did notice that a couple of teammates held back, but he received E-mails from them afterward saying "how much they respected me, but that they needed to collect their thoughts first."

Sean, who says he has known he was gay since the age of thirteen, is the founder of a technology start-up called Sponge Systems, but he is still working toward his chemistry degree from MIT, where he is a junior this year.

Karson’s been following the work of the ‘You Can Play’ project, founded in memory of Brendan Burke, whose own coming-out story continues to inspire. And he was deeply moved by James Nutter, the former University of Southern Maine baseball player who recently came out.

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