Love, love, love. NBA star Jason Collins has inspired so many people to share their own stories. One of the latest: Seventeen-year-old Leo Washington of Hollywood. Washington is the co-captain of the Hollywood Hills High School football team ... and openly gay.
The teen transferred to Hollywood Hills HS after being repeatedly bullied in Georgia, reports Miami's CBS 4. Now he is described as the"best defensive lineman" on the district champion's team.
Whether he’s in shoulder pads and a helmet, or walking the field with a Michael Kors bag on his shoulder, Leo knows who he is and has the respect and friendship of his team and classmates. "This is who I am today, athletic, smart, intelligent, nice and comfortable in my own skin," said Leo. "They have taken me in as their own brother and I will protect them from any other school that tries to come at them and disrespect them."
If anyone were to pick on him," said teammate Eli Gottlieb. "We would all have his back. If anyone were to pick on us for anything about us, he would have our back."
"[Washington] had several opportunities for football scholarships, but he said in college he’s following his other passion. He’s getting a degree in fashion."
And that's what makes this story especially interesting: Leo Washington doesn't fit the "hyper masculine" stereotype of a football player ... but he is very good at what he does, walking in his truth and "comfortable in his own skin." Werk! More in my analysis for EBONY, "Jason Collins Has “Reframed the Conversation” Around Sports, Blacks and Homophobia."
Watch the report AFTER THE JUMP ...