A Puerto Rican Olympian and featherweight boxer, Orlando Cruz recently came out, calling himself a “proud gay man.” ESPN reports that the 31 year old has become the first openly gay fighter. “I developed physically and mentally to take such a big step in my life and in my profession, which is boxing” he revealed in a statement, “knowing that it would have pros and cons, highs and lows in this sport that is so macho. I kept this hidden for many, many years.”
Cruz has been boxing professionally for the past 12 years and is scheduled to face Jorge Pazos in the ring on Oct. 19.
“I don’t want to hide any of my identities,” he said. “I want people to look at me for the human being that I am. I am a professional sportsman that always brings his best to the ring. I want for people to continue to see me for my boxing skills, my character, my sportsmanship. But I also want kids who suffer from bullying to know that you can be whoever you want to be in life, including a professional boxer, that anything is possible and that who you are or whom you love should not be impediment to achieving anything in life.”