Notable Coming Outs For 2013

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The sports world seemed to make headlines throughout 2013, as more from within what was once an all straight boys club kicked the closet door further and further open.

Here's a few notable 2013 coming outs, some whom are familiar to ESPN viewers, some who aren't:

Jason Collins

No coming out made a greater splash in 2013 then the April 29 proclamation by NBA superstar Jason Collins that he was a gay man. The impressively handsome 7 footer is the first active professional athlete from one of the big four sports leagues to declare his homosexuality. Ever.

The unexpectedly courageous move landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated, alongside the words The Gay Athlete. He has since granted a candid Oprah interview on OWN, where his family appeared with him, expressing their support.

Collins went on to become a goodwill ambassador for LGBT people who are dealing with coming out issues.

In September, Collins appeared at JFK: 50, Justice For All, a public forum on diversity in San Francisco, which celebrated the legacy of President John F Kennedy.

"As you tell each person it feels better and better," he said at the forum. "It feels good not to have that censor. A high school teacher said thank you to me, and by the way, I'm gay. A 51-year-old man came out to me. My goal now is to help others. I had a role model who helped me, now it's my turn to pay it forward."

"I'm so proud of you, Jason," said former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who was seated next to him on the podium.

Darren Young

The sports world got another shock when World Wrestling Entertainer superstar Darren Young came out in an impromptu TMZ interview in August. The macho Young was asked if he thought an openly gay man could succeed in the wrestling arena.

"Absolutely," said Young. "Look at me. I'm a WWE superstar, and to be honest with you, I'll tell you right now, I'm gay, and I'm happy. Very happy."

The proclamation may have surprised the interviewer, but fellow WWE wrestling star John Cena publicly expressed his support for Young. "My own brother is gay," said Cena.

Brian Boitano

The sports world just keeps getting gayer. The figure skater, a 1988 Olympic Champion, came out in December 2013 after being named to the United states 2014 Sochi Olympics Delegation. It was a courageous move to make, in light of the draconian anti-gay laws recently passed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Sochi games will be held in Russia.

"I am many things," Boitano said. "A son, brother, uncle, friend, athlete, a cook, an author. Being gay is just one part of who I am."

E. J. Johnson

Even the kids of sports figures are coming out. April saw the nonchalant coming out of basketball legend Magic Johnson's 20 year old son EJ. The younger Johnson said he didn't feel the least bit violated when TMZ outed him. Though he admitted that he would have preferred to out himself, E.J. made it clear that he had no intention of remaining in the closet.

The young man is now a student at New York University, studying event management and design, with interests in fashion, journalism, and media.

E.J. has the full support of his parents. His famous dad made headlines in 1991 when he came out as HIV positive.  The elder Johnson has since been a powerful voice in the fight to stop the spread of HIV.

Jasmine Jordan

Not to be outdone, the gorgeous young daughter of basketball great Michael Jordan also came out this year, posting photos of herself and her girlfriend on Instgram. According to a September 10 report at Huffington Post, twenty-year-old Jasmine decline to label herself, gay, straight or bisexual, allowing her relationship to speak for itself.

"Until love, trust, honesty respect, loyalty and commitment, genuine happiness and other characteristics or aspects I want in a relationship is defined by one gender, then and only then will I discuss my sexual preference," she said in a statement.

Jim Nabors

Nabors was hugely popular during the 1960s for his portrayal of country bumpkin Gomer Pyle on the popular TV series The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. For decades he dodged rumors about a relationship, and an alleged wedding ceremony, with movie hunk Rock Hudson, who was outed by the media shortly before his AIDS related death in 1985.

In January of 2013, the actor married Stan Cadwallader, his partner of 38 years. The couple tied the knot in Seattle a month after same-sex marriage became legal in Washington State.

Though Nabors' sexuality was one of Hollywood's worst kept secrets, his wedding day served as his official coming out as a proud gay man. Nabors and his husband reside in Hawaii, which also recently legalized same sex marriage.

Jenna Wolfe

Wolfe is a correspondent for NBC's Today Show, and a weekend news anchor for Weekend Today.  She previously appeared on local news shows in New York City, Binghamton NY, Rochester NY, and Pittsburgh PA.

Wolfe also has a connection to the sports world, having been a sportscaster on the Madison Square Garden Network.

Wolfe came out as a lesbian in March 2013. She and her partner, NBC News Foreign Correspondent Stephanie Gosk, had a daughter on August 21. 

Tuc Watkins

Watkins, a long running player on the daytime soap One Life to Live, made his first appearance on Desperate Housewives as gay lawyer Bob Hudson in 2007. He appeared on the series through 2012, while continuing to make appearances on One Life — his daytime character David Vickers, a comic airhead, was immensely popular with viewers.

Watkins is a single dad to twins who were born via surrogate. In April, 2013, four months after his kids were born, Watkins came out in an interview with Marie Osmond on Hallmark Channel's Marie.

Matt Dallas

Super-cute Dallas is best known for his portrayal of the title role in ABC Family's Kyle XY. He has since appeared in the short-lived series Eastwick and in several films.

In January 2013, Dallas announced his engagement to his boyfriend, musician Blue Hamilton.

Clive Davis

Perhaps the most surprising coming out was that of 81 year old Arista Records founder Clive Davis, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The man who signed Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Alicia Keys, and who put Whitney Houston on the map came out as bisexual in his 2013 autobiography The Soundtrack of My Life. Twice married to women, Davis has been in a relationship with an unknown man for a number of years. He had previously been in a 14 year relationship with a male doctor.

Interviewed by Katie Couric on The Katie Show, Davis said that he hoped his coming out would lead to a greater understanding of bisexuality.

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