At just 27 years old, Tadd Fujikawa has already made a few major marks on golfing history.
At 15 years old, he became the then-youngest golfer ever to quality for the U.S. Open in 2006. A year later, he became the then-second youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour event. Fast forward a decade later, the athlete has made some personal history as he is believed to be the first openly gay male professional golfer. According to Outsports, he is the first male U.S. Open competitor to come out publicly.
Fujikawa took to social media to share his story on World Suicide Prevention Day. "So...I'm gay. Many of you may have already known that," his Instagram post began. "I don't expect everyone to understand or accept me. But please be gracious enough to not push your beliefs on me or anyone in the LGBTQ community. My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another."
As his post continued, "I've been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality. I thought that I didn't need to come out because it doesn't matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much other's stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope. I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say. I've struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. Now I'm standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone's life. Although it's a lot more accepted in our society today, we still see children, teens, and adults being ridiculed and discriminated against for being the way we are. Some have even taken their lives because of it. As long as those things are still happening, I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality. Whether the LGBTQ is what you support or not, we must liberate and encourage each other to be our best selves, whatever that may be. It's the only way we can make this world a better place for future generations."
The star athlete concluded on an uplifting and encouraging note. "I don't want this to be focused on me. I just want to spread love and acceptance to others who are in a similar situation. If anyone out there is struggling, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. YOU ARE LOVED AND YOU ARE ENOUGH...AS IS, EXACTLY AS YOU ARE! I can't wait for the day we all can live without feeling like we're different and excluded. A time where we don't have to come out, we can love the way we want to love and not be ashamed. We are all human and equal after all. So I dare you...spread love. Let's do our part to make this world a better place."
"The love and support have been overwhelming," he told Outsports following his announcement. "I'm so glad that I came out. I can finally be the best version of me."