Golfer Tadd Fujikawa Makes History With An Emotional Coming-Out Message

"I can finally be the best version of me."

In 2006, golfer Tadd Fujikawa became the youngest person ever to qualify for the U.S. Open at age 15. This week, he made history again as he revealed on Instagram that he is gay. Fujikawa is reportedly the first male professional golfer to come out publicly.

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"So...I'm gay," the 27-year-old posted on Instagram Monday, which he pointed out was "coincidentally" World Suicide Prevention Day. "My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another."

Fujikawa went on to say that he had debated coming out "for a while," and ultimately chose to do so when he recalled how much other people's honesty gave him "hope" in the past. "I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was," he wrote. "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."

He reminded followers that members of the LGBTQ community still face discrimination, with many dying by suicide. "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," he wrote, encouraging anyone who is struggling to reach out to him. "YOU ARE LOVED AND YOU ARE ENOUGH...AS IS, EXACTLY AS YOU ARE!"

Fujikawa told OutSports that he had not previously come out to anyone in professional golf. "The love and support have been overwhelming," he said of the response to his message. "I'm so glad that I came out. I can finally be the best version of me."

OutSports named Yale golfer Jake Leffew as another openly gay man in the sport and added that there have also been several openly gay professional female golfers, naming Mianne Bagger, Alena Sharp, and Rosie Jones.

As People points out, this isn't the first time Fujikawa has opened up to his Instagram followers. Last year, he shared his experience with anxiety and depression and encouraged followers to ask for help if they need it. "You are loved and worthy," he wrote. "Remember you are not alone!"

It's an exciting time for LGBTQ representation in sports, as it was recently reported that there is a record number of openly gay college football players this season. "It's going to be amazing one day where it's not a shock," said University of Arizona player My-King Johnson.

Fujikawa shared a similar hope. "I can't wait for the day we all can live without feeling like we're different and excluded," he wrote to close his coming-out post. "A time where we don't have to come out, we can love the way we want to love and not be ashamed."

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