In a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, Puerto Rican professional boxer Orlando Cruz talks about his coming out story.
“I was scared,” said Cruz of his apprehensions around coming out.
“I was worried about other boxers. I was worried about the fans. I would cry many, many nights thinking about it.”
The 32-year-old boxer came out last October, becoming the first openly gay professional fighter. In the interview with Yahoo Sports, Cruz admitted to seeing a psychologist in New York City to ease his anxieties around coming out.
“He made me feel better about it and that is how I made the decision to come out,” Cruz said of his relationship with his psychologist, “he made me ready.”
“Since I made the announcement, I have been getting nothing but support. I am happy. I am free. I am comfortable. Everybody gives me support and respect.”
That respect is felt both in Cruz’s private as well as professional life, something which gives him cause to celebrate.
“When I interview with a newspaper, I would just like to have respect. Now, when I walk into the ring, I feel I have the support of a lot of people [in the LGBT community], and it makes me very happy.”
Since coming out, Cruz has been inducted in the US National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, joining out gay athletes like NBA player Jason Collins, diver Greg Louganis, and tennis stars Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova.
Last August, Cruz announced his engagement to his boyfriend Jose Manuel in New York.