Reggie Bullock’s mission is equality for LGBTQ community

Reggie Bullock and Joe Harris
Reggie Bullock (right) and Joe Harris attach commemorative NBA signage to the newly dedicated playground at Southview Recreation Center. (Joshua Jonah Fischman/MEDILL)

By Joshua Jonah Fischman
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– Reggie Bullock did not make an All-Star team nor is he participating in any of Saturday night’s competitions. He’s here in his native North Carolina for a greater purpose. After Bullock’s transgender sister, Mia Henderson, was murdered in 2014, the Lakers wing has become a powerful ally for the LGBTQ community.

“Obviously it’s something close to home for me,” Bullock said. “The [LGBTQ] community was something that she believed in and was a strong part of. I feel like it’s a duty of mine to be able to stand up for my sister. I’m definitely an ambassador and advocate.”

He said he feels compelled to use his platform as an NBA player, with the league’s help, to advocate for the community his sister loved. In March 2018, as a member of the Pistons, Bullock hosted the organization’s first LGBTQ Pride Night. A couple months later, Bullock stood atop the NBA’s float in the New York City LGBT Pride Parade.

Bullock recognizes how far the NBA has come in combating homophobia and promoting LGBTQ inclusion and would like to see continued progress.

“It’s a goal of mine to see the NBA one day possibly going in the direction of a rainbow patch or a rainbow jersey to show support for [the LGBTQ community],” Bullock said. “I just feel like that would be a great change for the world. Once you get that community on your side, it’s all love.”

He counts former NBA player Jason Collins, the first professional male athlete to come out while playing a major North American team sport, as a close personal friend. As a straight person fighting for the LGBTQ community, Bullock recognizes his limitations and knows when and where to get help in fighting for equality.

“[Jason’s] been a great advocate for me, supporting me at events,” Bullock said. “I’ve appreciated it a lot. Just having people like him who are part of the community as close friends, they can show you the ins and out and how you should talk to the community and how you should stand up for them. I need all the help I can get.”

Now, Bullock is spreading what he’s learned to his peers around the league. When asked if there are other active NBA players who are vocal LGBTQ community advocates besides Rockets forward Kenneth Faried and him, Bullock said support is steadily growing.

“My NBA peers and friends see the movement and see what I’m doing in standing up for the community,” Bullock said. “Having friends around to see that and learn from my example is always good.”

Bullock said the WNBA is leading the way in promoting equality for the LGBTQ community, and he and the NBA can follow its example.

“The women are going in the right direction for the community,” Bullock said. “Now I just have to do my part to be able to spread the mission for the NBA. If the NBA and WNBA can ‘collab’ together in support of the community, it would be a great thing.”

Photo at top: Reggie Bullock (right) and Joe Harris attach commemorative NBA signage to the newly dedicated playground at Southview Recreation Center. (Joshua Jonah Fischman/MEDILL)