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Robbie Rogers knew the “power of representation”, says husband Greg Berlanti

The former professional footballer was the first openly gay player in a major league sport

By Steve Brown

Robbie Rogers knew the “power of representation”, says his husband Greg Berlanti.

The former professional football and his director husband tied the knot last year in a stunning ceremony and on Saturday (September 22), the couple were honoured at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 49th Anniversary Vanguard Awards.

While accepting the Vanguard Award, the former Attitude cover star called out politicians working to block the LGBT movement and said: “Out safety and equality and basic liberties are under threat, now more than ever.

“There are others, many of them elected officials, who not only don’t want to see advancements for the disenfranchised, they want to take us back to a time when our story wasn’t even possible.”

His husband then gushed about his partner and revealed he fell in love with him for “many, many reasons”.

Berlanti continued: “Robbie was the first openly gay athlete to play in a championship team in a major league sport.

“And the entire time Robbie was playing, through all of this, you should know, his reason for doing so never wavered.

“He wanted LGBT kids to have someone to watch that was like them. He knew the power of representation, because he didn’t have it when he was growing up, isolated and alone.

“I fell in love with Robbie Rogers for many, many reasons, but not the least of them was because of his grace and strength and compassion during all of this – for his fellow players and the fans and even his critics.

“Robbie met every hardship during this time with compassion for the soccer community, because he knew if real change was going to happen for the next generation, it wasn’t just going to be rules that were going to have to change, he was going to have to change the hearts and minds of people, too.”