Tadd Fujikawa became the first professional golfer to come out. On Monday Fujikawa opened up in an Instagram post that detailed his coming-out journey.
"So ... I'm gay,â Fujikawa declared. "Many of you may have already known that. I don't expect everyone to understand or accept me. But please be gracious enough to not push your beliefs on me or anyone in the LGBTQ community. My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another.â
âI've been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality,â he continued. âI thought that I didn't need to come out because it doesn't matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much other's stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope.â
Fuijkawa made history at 15 when he became the youngest golfer in history to qualify for the U.S. Open. In 2007 at the age of 16, he became one of the youngest players to qualify for the PGA Tour event.
He revealed in his post how being in the closet weighed his spirit and was detrimental to his mental health.
âI spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say,â he wrote. âI've struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. 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.â
It was important to Fujikawa to encourage others to reach out to him for support. He also gave a personal message to everyone: âYou are loved and you are enough â¦ as is, exactly as you are.â
âWe are all human and equal after all,â he concluded. âSo I dare you ... spread love. Let's do our part to make this world a better place.â
Read his full message below.