ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Carl Nassib, a Las Vegas Raiders lineman becomes the first active, openly gay NFL player in history of the sport. A local LGBTQIA+ community explained how this will help break down barriers.
“It gives them a model to look at, and say ‘hey there’s somebody just like me, I can do that too,” explained PFLAG Rockford President, Frank Langholf. “I think anytime somebody comes out in whatever vocation they maybe have wherever they happen to be, it really shows a role model.”
Particular for kids. Langholf is also a pastor at the Emmanual Lutheran Church. He says Nassib coming out blurs barriers created by social stereotypes.
“Football maybe has the reputation of being particularly more masculine, for a lack of a better term, and then this being the first player who is active in the NFL,” he said. “Anytime that happens it gives permission to be who they are, and own that and be okay with that.”
Nassib donated $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a non-profit focused on suicide prevention for the LGBTQIA+ community. The NFL matched that donation.
“When the NFL matched that, it’s affirming who he is, and affirming people within the community,” Langholf said. “It will also possibly open doors for other people and other organizations to also then help resource local organizations like ourselves, but also organizations that are nation-wide.”
PFLAG Rockford‘s mission is “to build on a foundation of loving families united with the LGBTQ people and allies who support one another.”
The Liam Foundation is the “first LGBTQIA+ Resource Center in Rockford. The foundation helps connect residents to services, and offers professional development trainings to other organizations to educate them on the unique challenges the community faces.