Kalamazoo Native Lendale Johnson: America’s 1st Openly Gay Black Tennis Pro
Lendale grew up in Kalamazoo but now lives in Brooklyn, and recently expressed the importance for more athletes to come forward to express who they really are to Pride Source:
People need to come out, especially in sports. Visibility is invaluable. With me being a double minority, it’s even more powerful. It’s given me more inspiration and more motivation to play and do even better. If I hadn’t come out, I wouldn’t have all this support of people rooting for me and getting all these sponsors and investors.
Even the legendary Tennis athlete Billie Jean King has shown him some love on his Twitter page. King, also a part of the LGBTQ community, won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women's doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles and is considered to be one of the greatest to play the sport of all time.
Lendale is currently the WalkOff.co.uk Ambassador and recently became the Ambassador for Athlete Ally. It's so awesome to see Kalamazoo natives in such inspiring places, making a strong push for not only equality, but the comfort in coming out while in the public eye.
Kalamazoo Pride Pics of the Past