Professional surfer Xu Jingsen just came out as gay. According to Out Sports, he could be China’s first openly gay athlete.
Xu Jingsen, or A Sam in English, came out on the popular Chinese social media network, Weibo.
A Sam wrote (loosely translated), “Hello everyone! I am A Sam. I will attend the global Gay Games in Paris, France, in August this year and serve as an ambassador. Coming out is the ultimate measure of our inner courage. Yes, I am gay.”
He continued, “We have the right to choose who to love and how to be loved. Gender, age, and skin color are not an embarrassment. We all live under the same sun.”
“Today, I bravely live my truth, and I regard it as the best gift bestowed upon me. If my courage can bring comfort to those who feel lonely and helpless, and encourage everyone to support equality, then everything I do will make more sense. Thank you, friends!”
Although surfing is not an official sport at the Gay Games, A Sam will compete in swimming and basketball at the Paris Gay Games in August.
A Gay Games Ambassador
In addition to being China’s first openly gay athlete, A Sam is also the first Gay Games Ambassador from China.
“The Gay Games Ambassadors are an international group of prominent individuals supporting the goals and principles of the Gay Games,” the Gay Games said in a statement. “As our first Gay Games Ambassador from Asia, we are very pleased both for A Sam and for our organization and movement.”
“This visibility of our having a professional Chinese athlete as a Gay Games Ambassador has the potential to positively impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of LGBT+ people in mainland China, the rest of Asia and across the world.”
While being gay is not illegal in China, there are no anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQ people. In additional, gay content is outlawed and not allowed to air on television or the Internet.