Chris Cheng, who won the fourth season of the History Channel’s “Top Shot,” a show that has contestants compete in various shooting challenges, came out as gay on December 17, changing the cultural stereotypes associated with professional shooters and gun enthusiasts.
“One reason why I chose to come out publicly is that I’m a gay guy in a gun world,” Cheng posted on his blog.
“Hunters, sport shooting enthusiasts, and collectors are too often stereotyped as part of efforts to politicize guns as we witnessed last week on the anniversary of the horrific Newtown tragedy,” he continued.
“Take it from someone who in a single package is not only gay, but Chinese, Japanese, California-born, a college graduate, a tech geek who worked on cool Google projects, a gun enthusiast and a passionate 2nd Amendment advocate. Our community is as diverse as anyone’s.”
Cheng also cited other professional sportsmen who have recently come out as examples of public figures who, through their openness about their orientation, change their fields’ relationship to identity, and also help others come out and find acceptance through their example.
“Thankfully, tolerance and acceptance are contagious. Being gay is no longer something to hide. NBA star Jason Collins and British Olympian Tom Daley received overwhelming public support when they went public with their sexuality,” he wrote.
“Celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen DeGeneres are role models who have shown you can be happy, successful and openly gay, defined by your talents. Likewise, I will be defined by my skills and accomplishments, not my sexuality.”