footballs CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 03: A general view of footballs on the ground prior to kickoff between the East Carolina Pirates and South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 3, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

This week, Hampton University Pirates defensive back Byron Perkins made a huge announcement to the world, becoming the first openly gay football player to play for a Historically Black College or University (HBCU).

Perkins made the big announcement this week on his Instagram account, saying that he made the decision to “stop running away from myself.”

“I’ve decided that I’m going to make a change, and stop running away from myself,” Perkins wrote on Instagram. “I’m gay, let it be known that this is not a ‘decision’ or a ‘choice.’ Yes, this is who I am, this is who I’ve been, and this is who I’m going to be. Simply put, I am who I am.”

In his decision to come out, Perkins hopes to help gay Black men who are struggling with their identity, particularly at an HBCU.

“Especially at an HBCU, young Black gay men need an outlet,” Perkins said, according to Outsports. “They need a support system. There hasn’t been an out gay football athlete at an HBCU. I want to end the stigma of what people think. I want people to know they can be themselves. It’s about that kid who’s going to see this and think he can be himself too.”

It’s a major announcement, and the college football world took to Twitter to celebrate.

Perkins will undoubtedly have a major impact in the community after this announcement, helping countless people who could be going through a similar experience.

[Byron Perkins, Outsports]