Hampton’s Byron Perkins, HBCU’s first openly gay football player
The defensive back plays for Hampton University in the Colonial Athletic Association. (Photo courtesy of: The Advocate)
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Hampton’s Byron Perkins has made history after coming out last week as HBCU’s first openly gay football player.

The redshirt junior from Chicago made his announcement on an Instagram post saying “simply put, I am who I am.”

“I’ve decided that I’m going to make a change, and stop running away from myself,” Perkins wrote on his Instagram. “I’m gay, let it be known that this is not a ‘decision’ or a ‘choice.’ Yes, this is who I am, this is who I’ve been, and this is who I’m going to be.”

In an interview with Outsports, the Hampton defensive back told the outlet that he felt he was adding pressure to his life by not being authentic to himself.

[irp]

Byron Perkins, a leader on his Division I HBCU college football team, has come out as gay.https://t.co/yMyp07v1Ou

— Outsports (@outsports) October 20, 2022

Byron Perkins on being authentic

In his Instagram post, Perkins said:

“I have come to understand that life is precious and I could be gone at any moment, therefore, I will no longer be living a lie. No one should have to live a life crippled by what society thinks.

I have been told on many occasions that I walk around and look as if I’m upset. This is not because I am an angry person, but because I have put on a mask, a mask that has restricted me. Today, I am destroying that mask.

[irp]

For the friends and family that have known and supported me to this point, thank you, and for the friends and family that I will lose…thank you too. You have all helped me in the process of building the young man I am today.”

Byron Perkins said he understands some people may not fully understand him being gay, but he primarily wants to help other gay Black men who are struggling, particularly at HBCUs (historically black college and university).

“Especially at an HBCU, young Black gay men need an outlet,” he said. “They need a support system. There hasn’t been an out gay football athlete at an HBCU. I want to end the stigma of what people think. I want people to know they can be themselves. 

“It’s about that kid who’s going to see this and think he can be himself too.”

Mike Creef is a fighter for equality and justice for all. Growing up bi-racial (Jamaican-American) on the east coast allowed him to experience many different cultures and beliefs that helped give him a...

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