High School Athletes Coming Out, Making Headlines
Recently, several male, high school athletes have come out, making headlines, especially thankful to websites like Outsports. But more important than the headlines, the young athletes are providing a network of support on a national level for other male athletes, who up until this point, might have felt as if they were the only one. And at that age, having access to a network like that is undeniably valuable.
Regarding the solidarity felt by a closeted male athlete, I can write from my own experiences. And I certainly do not want to say that being a closeted athlete is any more difficult than being a closeted non-athlete, but it definitely is a unique situation with, I believe, some common themes.
I remember two particular reasons why it was particularly difficult (and I assume, even if succumbing to stereotypes, others can relate):
(1) Generally, as a closeted athlete, the foundation of loving sports started well before figuring out you’re gay. Thus, as much as a major core of your being is your sexuality, that love up sports is also quite significant.
(2) As a closeted athlete, particularly men, you feel like you don’t fit into either group: the gay community or the athletic community. You don’t relate directly with the gay people you know or the stereotype of gay people, so you feel out of that group. And you also feel that your sports peers would not accept you if they knew you were gay.
With that as a backdrop, I am so pleased to see high school athletes coming out, sharing their experiences, and providing a source of inspiration to those closeted athletes that feel they are alone.
Outsports has done a tremendous job, as usual, finding and sharing these types of stories. (And also verifying the authenticity of the blogs, after a revelation that the only previous blog like these was a hoax.) A quick search of “high school” on their JockTalk Blog yield results of two blogs written by a total of 4 high school athletes and an article written by a coach of an openly gay athlete.
With that, I want to make sure that everyone knows about these resources, especially in the event any high school athlete stumbles upon this page and is looking for someone within their age range to contact. The athletes represent a good mix of diversity: race, sports they play, and geographically. It should come as no surprise that gay athletes are in all sports and all age ranges. Hopefully that reminder will help anyone who is feeling alone.
Blog #1: “Craig’s Gay Word”
Craig Cassey is a senior in high school and the captain of his track team. Craig recently endeavored in a campaign to ask, “What Can Teachers Do to Help LGBTQ Students?” You can follow Craig on Twitter as well, @Craiggay.
Blog #2: “Walk the Road: One Common Goal”
This blog is particularly special because it is written by three different high school athletes: Ben, Brad, and Robert. Ben Newcomer is a junior who plays soccer and is a runner, and he lives on the east coast; Brad Usselman runs track and lives on the west coast; and Robert is a 17 year old soccer player living in the south.
Article: “Out of the locker room closet”
This article is written by Roger Brigham, who had the opportunity to coach Jaime Loo, openly gay team captain of the wrestling team. Loo, a native of Panama, moved to San Francisco at the age of 14 and is now fully out to his team and coaches.