I publicly disclosed this morning on RecoilWeb.com that I’m gay. While it’s something my friends and family have known for years, I believe now that I have become a television personality and public figure, it is important to be honest and upfront about who Chris Cheng is.
Thankfully, tolerance and acceptance are contagious. Being gay is no longer something to hide. NBA star Jason Collins and British Olympian Tom Daley received overwhelming public support when they went public with their sexuality. We have outspoken straight allies from NFL football players such as Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo who have positively impacted public opinion. Celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen DeGeneres are role models who have shown you can be happy, successful and openly gay, defined by your talents. Likewise, I will be defined by my skills and accomplishments, not my sexuality.
That said, I realize my situation is different. One reason why I chose to come out publicly is that I’m a gay guy in a gun world. Hunters, sport shooting enthusiasts, and collectors are too often stereotyped as part of efforts to politicize guns as we witnessed last week on the anniversary of the horrific Newtown tragedy. Take it from someone who in a single package is not only gay, but Chinese, Japanese, California-born, a college graduate, a tech geek who worked on cool Google projects, a gun enthusiast and a passionate 2nd Amendment advocate. Our community is as diverse as anyone’s.
A special thanks to the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, who are supportive of my decision as they recognize the diverse perspective I bring to the conversation about the safe and responsible use of firearms. And a big shout out to my fellow “Top Shot” Champions Iain Harrison and Dustin Ellermann, who have been great friends throughout this journey. Finally, I can’t thank enough my loving family, friends, and Nate, my boyfriend of four and a half years, for making this decision a no-brainer.
Entering this new chapter of my life, I am currently working with a producer developing a cool new idea for a unique reality TV program featuring the diversity of the gun community. Come July, my book “Shoot to Win,” on leadership and marksmanship will be published. And who knows what other fun things are on the horizon.
Thanks to all for your support and kind words. See you at the range!