HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu native Tadd Fujikawa became the first male professional golfer to publicly come out as gay.
Fujikawa, the youngest golfer to ever compete in the U.S. Open took to his Instagram account with an important message to his fans.
"I don't expect everyone to understand or accept me," the 27-year-old wrote. "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.
"I've been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality. I 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. I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say. I'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. Although it's a lot more accepted in our society today, we still see children, teens, and adults being ridiculed and discriminated against for being the way we are. Some have even taken their lives because of it. As long as those things are still happening, I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality. Whether the LGBTQ is what you support or not, we must liberate and encourage each other to be our best selves, whatever that may be. It's the only way we can make this world a better place for future generations."
Fujikawa qualified for the U.S. Open back in 20-06 at the age of 15 before making the cut at the Sony Open the following year, becoming the youngest player in 50 years to make the weekend at a PGA Tour event.