On Oct. 11-12, Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player, visited the Tar Heel State to campaign for his long-time friend and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Collins attended a conversation with student leaders at Johnson C. Smith University and also participated in a National Coming Out Day celebration at Advent Coworking on Oct. 11.

Collins also visited Raleigh, N.C. on Oct. 12 and was part of a roundtable discussion on HB2’s effect on North Carolina and the sports community at the Raleigh LGBT Community Center. Additionally, he was on hand at three voter registration events in the Triangle.

qnotes was able to catch up with Collins when he was in Charlotte, N.C. and he shared his views on the election, his candidate and more.

Collins, who attended Stanford University, was a classmate of Chelsea Clinton and was invited on several occassions to spend time with the family. In doing so, he had a rare opportunity to see the Clintons up-close. He was able to have a seat in her world in which he was able to witness the many ways in which Clinton championed education and families and more throughout her career, as well as First Lady while seeing more privately her life as a mother and grandmother. Additionally, the Clintons came to his graduation party in 2001.

Before Collins came out publically, he was able to come out privately to the Clintons. He said that because of their words of support and their love and friendship, he would “forever be grateful” to them. And, because of that, he has seen first-hand how Clinton would be as a president — poised, steady and calm — the consumate stateswoman.

Collins shared that Clinton uses language of inclusion and equality. In contrast, he said that Donald Trump does not, is bigoted and plays on people’s fears. “There’s no way I want to see him in the White House because he does not represent what is the best in us and what is great about America.” He added that Clinton wants to continue the work that President Barack Obama has achieved over the last eight years with regard to inclusive initiatives and legislation for the LGBT community. She has a clear agenda on achieving goals that are cited on her website, especially working to strike down disriminatory laws across the U.S., such as legislation like HB2 in North Carolina.

He remarked that leadership mattered and is important from the person who sits in the White House down to those who serve on the local level. That is why he feels so strongly that Clinton is the only choice for president. She has demonstrated that she can stay calm in the face of adversity (as depicted in the recent debates) and has the right temperament that will prevent her from getting “rattled.”

Collins said that Clinton is a thoughtful leader and one that “makes us proud to be Americans.”

And, even though this would be a Hillary Clinton administration and she would be the boss, Collins added that she has the support of a husband who has inside knowledge on the pressures and experience as the leader of the country. He said that he could not envision Trump having those types of difficult conversations with his wife Melania that as president would present themselves, but could certainly see a more constructive and thorough one between Clinton and her husband Bill.

With more to be done to obtain true equality, Collins expressed that over the next few years a couple of seats on the Supreme Court would have to filled. Legislation like the Equality Act has yet to be passed, people can still be fired and housing can be denied for being an LGBT individual. And, having a progressive president at the helm would help keep the inclusive agenda trajectory on track with fair judges being appointed to serve on the Supreme Court. Clinton would be able to keep the momentum going.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' former associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director.