LGBTQI+ History Month kicked off tonight with a guest appearance at Foy Auditorium by Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL and the first openly gay player in professional American football.
The event began with a brief performance from Auburn’s own Mosaic Theatre Company, a small acting troupe dedicated to writing and producing original works with diversity and discourse in mind.
They debuted their new piece, “Gay Greek,” a short skit dealing with “microagressions and how organizations can make people feel singled out.”
When Sam took the stage the first thing he said was he's not shy and "what you see is what you get."
“I’m also a very honest person," Sam said. "I feel like there’s not a lot of honesty in the world, and I’m going to tell it exactly like it is.”
Sam told the audience about his professional career, childhood and sexuality.
Sam said he was raised by his older brothers, who he described as “terrible” guardians.
“I saw so much stuff no child should ever see,” Sam said. “I saw hardcore drugs, guns, crackheads getting high in our house."
Living in such an aggressive environment made for a dark past, Sam said.
"My brothers abused me because I was different," Sam said. "I acted different and I didn’t like the same music as them.”
Sam said he turned his life around by getting into college and and getting involved in football.
“I was my parents’ first son to graduate, their second child and their first child to go to college as well,” Sam said.
Sam also shared his motivation and inspiration to continue working for the LGBTQI+ community, and his inspiration for making the decision to come out publicly as gay.
“There are so many people out there living a lie, not because it’s not their time to come out, but because they’re afraid to come out," Sam said. "I want to be that sword and shield. I want to be an inspiration to those people.”