“I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was."
In a historic first for the sporting world, professional golfer Tadd Fujikawa is the first male professional to come out as gay.
This past Monday Fujikawa took to Instagram and made the announcement.
"So ... I'm gay,” he wrote. "Many of you may have already known that. I don't expect everyone to understand or accept me. But please be gracious enough to not push your beliefs on me or anyone in the LGBTQ community. My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another.”
“I've been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality. I thought that I didn't need to come out because it doesn't matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much other's stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope.”
The 22-year-old initially made history as the youngest golfer to ever qualify or the U.S. Open. And at 16, In 2007, one of the youngest to qualify for PGA Tour event.
In his post, Fujikawa addresses the darker times battling with mental health.
“I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say,” he wrote. “I've struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. Now I'm standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone's life.”
His message included a personal invitation to others who are struggling to reach out to him, “You are loved and you are enough … as is, exactly as you are.”
He ends his posting with a challenge, “We are all human and equal after all. So I dare you ... spread love. Let's do our part to make this world a better place.”