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Michael Sam, NFL’s first openly gay player, to speak at CWU during Pride Week

Honoree Michael Sam, right, and his boyfriend Vito Cammisano attend the 2014 GQ Men of the Year Party at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles on  Dec. 4, 2014. (Dan Steinberg / Invision/AP)
Honoree Michael Sam, right, and his boyfriend Vito Cammisano attend the 2014 GQ Men of the Year Party at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 2014. (Dan Steinberg / Invision/AP)
By Rafael Guerrero Yakima Herald-Republic

ELLENSBURG, Wash. - Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL player, will be a guest speaker at Central Washington University during the school’s annual Pride Week.

From May 30 through June 4, CWU will celebrate and honor its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community. This year’s theme is “One Proud World.”

Events will include a weeklong art show, block party, drag show, a “Lavender” graduation ceremony for the queer community and a pride parade on the final day.

On June 1, Sam will share his story of growing up in Texas while keeping his sexual orientation a secret. He will talk about how he overcame challenges, reflect on becoming the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team and discuss lessons he learned.

“From Hitchcock High to the NFL: I am Michael Sam” will be at 7 p.m. at the student union ballroom. Admission is free.

After high school, Sam accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Missouri. During his senior year, he was a consensus All-American and the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He was drafted by the then-St. Louis Rams in the 2014 NFL Draft.

He didn’t make it to the regular season, though, as he was cut in the preseason. He also had a short stint that season with the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad.

According to a CWU news release, the Ellensburg university has gained a reputation as a LGBT-friendly campus. National nonprofit Campus Pride named CWU one of the top 50 LBGT-friendly universities in the U.S.

CWU also was the only four-year university in the state to receive the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award in 2015, the second consecutive year it earned the distinction.

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