Billy Bean has always been a team player. That is one reason why joining the board of LGBTQ Loyalty Holdings immediately appealed to him.

“The opportunity to work alongside some of the most accomplished influencers in the LGBTQ community was something that I simply could not pass up,” he said.  “I’m inspired by their accomplishments and the impact they have made on so many people.”

But for a time, being a team player was the hardest thing in the world for Bean. That was because he felt he could not declare to his professional baseball teammates, to his family, or to friends, that he was gay. “I didn’t give anyone a chance to be supportive, or help me through such a difficult time,” he recalled in an interview with Queerty. So he walked away from the game instead. Now, Bean is dedicated to making sure that no player ever has to make such a painful choice again.

Bean played major league baseball from 1987-1995. He broke into the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers, and tied a major-league record with four hits in his first game. He went on to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. He came out in 1999, four years after retirement.

Fortunately, Bean is no longer living in what he described to MLB News as “a very stone-age space.” Thanks to the information age, “Self-identification happens a lot earlier, and open-hearted families and parents teach their children about everything in the world. It allows for an earlier evolution,” Bean said.

Those better times, and finding inner peace living his truth, eventually brought Bean back to the game. In 2014, Bean was appointed Major League Baseball’s (MLB) first Ambassador for Inclusion, a role that has expanded now that he serves as Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. “My work at MLB requires constantly evolving, progressive resources and education tools for our players, employees, and all stakeholders,” Bean says. “Our goal is to foster the most inclusive, accepting, and respectful workplace possible, with a culture that empowers every individual.”

One way to achieve that empowerment, Bean says, is through the LGBTQ Loyalty Index. “It’s going to be a valuable resource for the LGBTQ community,” Bean said. “We will elevate the visibility of companies that have and continue to support LGBTQ issues. Today’s consumers want to know if their values are shared by the companies who make the products we use in our daily lives. We believe the Loyalty Index will allow LGBTQ citizens to follow and support those companies that champion equality and fairness for everyone.”

Once more, Billy Bean has found a team he can play on, and one that most definitely needs him.

“I believe Bobby Blair has put together a visionary group of leaders with experience and the ability to impact the lives of others in a positive way,” Bean said. “I’m looking forward to being a member of this great team.”

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