Jason Collins Honored with GLSEN Courage Award


NBA player Jason Collins has enjoyed an outpouring of support since going public earlier this month as the first active male athlete in a major team sport to come out as gay. Last night, actors Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgwick joined other dignitaries at a gala held by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to formally honor Collins.

The 34-year-old athlete was presented with GLSEN's Courage Award during its 10th Annual Respect Awards. The gala is held each year to recognize the efforts of individual and corporate leaders who are making a significant difference to ensure that schools are safe for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their supporters.

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"It's really been leading the charge on getting rid of the idea of bullying," Bacon told ET on the red carpet about the efforts of GLSEN. "They put together great 'safe space' kits they are sending out to a lot of schools."

Collins -- who joked that his announcement took him from sitting on the couch with his dog to sitting on a couch in a studio with Oprah Winfrey -- expressed gratitude for the ongoing widespread support, which he said is crucial for anyone first coming out. "This award is not about me. This award is about courage, the courage I got from others who have come before me," he said.

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