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Houston Texan linebacker supports LGBT causes

Connor Barwin is proof of how attitudes about gay issues are changing in sports. After Outsports wrote about his tweets supporting same-sex marriage, he reached out and said he wanted to do an interview on the issue. He is the first pro team sport athlete to ever contact Outsports to talk about gay issues.

Barwin, 25, is a pass-rushing outside linebacker for the Houston Texans entering his fourth season. His 11.5 sacks in 2011 led the team and ranked him ninth in the NFL. He was a key cog in a Texans’ defense that ranked fourth in the league in fewest points allowed, and helped the team to its first playoff appearance in franchise history. He grew up in Hazel Park, Mich., and attended the University of Cincinnati (where he majored in history).

In a Q&A interview, Barwin says:

Outsports: What is your interest in the whole same-sex marriage debate and why do you feel so passionately about it?

Barwin: It comes from my parents and my family. I have an older brother [Joe] who is gay. I would like to think I would feel as passionately even if I didn’t [have a gay brother], but obviously that has been an influence on me.

I just embrace diversity and it stems from my parents. I’ve seen how important it is to my brother and have watched how it’s changed over time and how it’s changed in the NFL and how much more people are beginning to understand and accept gay people in all different areas of life. I feel I can make a stand in the position I’m in, especially in such a masculine sport and hope my support can maybe have a small effect on helping to change people’s minds.

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