LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Messages of support and hope are coming out tonight after Raiders player Carl Nassib publicly comes out as gay. He is the first active NFL player to publicly come out.
A look now at how his message is helping Las Vegas youth in the LGBTQ community.
“I just want to take a moment to say I am gay.”
Carl Nassib’s message is giving courage to the many Las Vegas young people in the LGBTQ community who might be worried about being accepted.
“I was so proud and happy that he could just come out and say who he is and he was happy about who he was,” said Bella Castellarin.
Bella is just 13 years old, but she says she knew from the age of 9 she was gay.
“I knew from kids in school whose parents weren’t friendly with it,” she says. “I was a little worried.”
Her 11-year-old transgender brother Kai was born as Mia, but quickly realized being female didn’t seem right to him.
“I was just so nervous. I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Kai Castellarin said.
So having an NFL player like Nassib come out inspired the siblings with their identities.
“He showed you can be who you are and do sports and play football no matter what your sexuality or gender identity is,” Kai said.
Their mother, Krista Whitley, hopes Nassib’s message will open the doors to more acceptance.
“Coming out and feeling like he can authentically live his life showed a great example to my children that there are not a lot of limits anymore,” Whitley said.
Laura Hernandez, executive director of the Nevada Alliance for Student Diversity says suicides can decrease by 40 percent in LGBTQ youth if there is at least one supportive adult in their life.
“I teared up watching his video because I know how many lives that will change,” Hernandez said. “There are so many young kids out there that are desperate for an opportunity to be authentic.”
Hernandez’s group offers support for both LGBTQ youth and their parents.
And some great news for Carl Nassib: ESPN reports his jersey is now the top seller in the Fanatics network.