Major League Baseball hires first Gay Ambassador
Billy Bean hired by Major League Baseball as Ambassador For Inclusion, will lead gay inclusion program
Outsports.com | July 15, 2014
Major League Baseball has hired openly gay former ballplayer Billy Bean as their new Ambassador For Inclusion. Bean's job will be to assure all MLB stakeholders of an inclusive and equitable workplace and provide awareness and educational resources that help mandate the league's workplace code of conduct. Bean will focus not just on sexual orientation, but also intersections of race, gender and other issues of diversity.
A major focus of Bean's work with the League will be to help end homophobia in the locker rooms, front offices, on the fields and in the stands. Bean will visit all 30 MLB teams within the next year and talk with players, coaches and front-office executives about steps they can take to end homophobia in their ball clubs. He will also be tasked with building partnerships and developing a complete program that will make baseball a model for LGBT inclusion.
"It's ironic that I am returning to baseball to help erase the same reason I left," Bean told Outsports in an exclusive interview. Bean left baseball in 1995 shortly after his then-partner passed away. Bean skipped his partner's funeral to play in a game for the Padres, lest someone discover he was gay.
"I was a young man, so confused and hurting inside trying to juggle a life of deception, and play in the major leagues while in the closet. The greatest mistake of my life was my own inability to believe or trust that I could reach out to someone and ask for some help. It was a different time, and for many of us, it wasn't easy. However, the hard work of so many brave people that came before me and during the past decade is paying dividends. Now we have arrived at this important moment."