LOS ANGELES — "I am proud of who I am and... ready to share this. I am gay."
With those direct and honest words, disability activist and Minnesota native Jack Jablonski came out on his Twitter page Wednesday.
Jablonski, whose public battle to recover from a devastating spinal injury suffered during a hockey game more than 10 years ago elevated him to a national profile, spoke in the post about the internal battle that began before he was paralyzed.
He wrote of growing up as a multi-sport athlete growing up in a straight, masculine world that forced him to tamp down his feelings of being different.
"Prior to my injury, I began to battle my true self internally. I went from confusion, to disbelief, to denial, to pushing it down, to now, acceptance and happiness," Jablonski shared. "Once I was injured, my focus was on recovery, but the weight of my sexuality got heavier and heavier. I dealt with this on my own for a very long time and it ate me up. I am finally in a good place mentally and it's time for me to move forward and live my life freely."
While not a professional athlete himself, Jablonski does work in the world of pro sports as a communications professional for the Los Angeles Kings and made sure to thank "the brave men and women who came before me."
"You have helped people like myself become comfortable to be who we really are publicly. A gay man in the sports world," he said.
Jablonski also thanked his family, friends and the LA Kings organization for their support and acceptance. He expressed the hope that by coming out as gay, he can help someone else avoid the pain and loneliness he felt while concealing who he is.
"I look forward to this next chapter and living my truth."
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