As Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Michael Sam took to the field Friday night, he made history.
Sam is the first openly gay athlete to play in the CFL.
Softball player Bill Ignatio plays with WESA, a softball league for people who identify as LGBTQ, and says he has seen society become more accepting of gay athletes.
“It’s no longer a big deal to sneak away from your family on the weekends and play softball with your gay friends. Your family plays with you and almost all of our teams have two or three straight people playing just because the level of play is so high.”
“You can’t rush these things and you also can’t pass judgment on society and it’s the kind of thing you can’t hurry. Cultural changes don’t happen all at once, they happen with a small group of people or just one person, like Michael Sam is helping to make happen.”
Ignatio says this has been a long time coming.
“It’s always difficult for young people to come to terms with who they are, in any capacity let alone their own sexuality. So if we have role models telling us it’s okay to be gay and okay to be good at sports, that’s why our society may need to move forward.”