Search form

Scroll To Top

Baseball Player David Denson Makes History

Baseball Player David Denson Makes History

David Denson

David Denson is the first active player affiliated with an MLB organization to come out publicly


Photo: Jared Ravich/

All it took was the "F" word. David Denson heard the derogatory word for a gay man from one of his teammates. A first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers' rookie affiliate in Helena, Mont., 20-year-old Denson -- who is African-American and Hispanic -- stood up for himself. "Be careful what you say. You never know," Denson replied with a smile, according to an interview in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Soon after he came out to members of the team and, to his surprise, they showed him their support. As he tells the newspaper:

"Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them. They said, 'You're still our teammate. You're still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You're still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don't treat you any different. We've got your back.'

"That was a giant relief for me. I never wanted to feel like I was forcing it on them. It just happened. The outcome was amazing. It was nice to know my teammates see me for who I am, not my sexuality."

He later consulted with Billy Bean, who was named Major League Baseball's first Ambassador for Inclusion last year, who encouraged him to come out publicly. Denson says he and Bean have "become like brothers."

Denson becomes the first active player affiliated with a Major League organization to come out publicly and comes a few months after independent league pitcher Sean Conroy of the Sonoma Stompers came out as gay.

SLIDESHOW | LGBT Sports Champions

Bean, who came out after retiring from MLB and says he regretted not coming out while he was still playing baseball, told theJournal Sentinel:

"[David] is definitely cognizant of how it might affect his team. I just wanted to make sure his parents were part of the conversation. David has two loving parents who obviously are very concerned. They're worried about how this will affect him.

"Any player who happens to be gay and is a professional and has kept that secret, they just want to be judged for their baseball or football or basketball ability. David would not be playing professional baseball if he wasn't an excellent baseball player.

"The beauty of what could come from this is he can be an example that can help change that perception and change the stereotype that there would never be a gay person on a men's professional sports team. That was something I struggled with."

Denson first told his sister Celestine. She is also a professional dancer married to former Brewers farmhand Jose Sermo.

"She said, 'I've known since you were little,'" said Denson. "I said, 'How did you know?' She said, 'You're my little brother. I'm around you all the time.' "

Denson told the Journal Sentinel that he doesn't have any expectations of what might happen next.

"I'm hoping it will open the eyes of people in general that we're all people, we're human, we're brothers in the sport. We're all here trying to get to the big leagues. I'm excited to see where it goes from here, now that I don't have that wall holding me back anymore."

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories