Sunday, April 05, 2015

Kentucky high school basketball player Dalton Maldonado

Gay Kentucky basketball player comes out at a game,
gets chased by opposing team

Kentucky high school basketball player Dalton Maldonado came out at a game after being called a gay slur. When the opposing team chased him in a car, his team rallied to his defense. Now he wants to help other young athletes in Indiana, Kentucky and the world.

"Hey No. 3, I hear you're a faggot."
It was the last thing Dalton Maldonado expected to hear as he and his team lined up to shake hands at a Kentucky high school basketball tournament last December. His Betsy Layne High School team had just gotten thrashed by an opposing team by 32 points. The opposing team was a staple of the state's top 25 this year; Maldonado and his team just couldn't hang with them that game. The Betsy Layne starters - including Maldonado - had sat most of the fourth quarter, given the blowout. When the game clock hit zero, tempers were low.
As Maldonado turned to see which of the opposing players called him out, he noticed several people staring at him awaiting a response to the slur. Some of them had suspected Maldonado was gay. Others had heard rumors. Only two teammates had ever heard it from his mouth.
Maldonado shot back with all the wit he could muster.
"Yeah baby, can I have your number?"
It was the perfect response - smart and biting. Maldonado had defused the moment, taking the power out of the player's slur. "Put up a strong front," he told himself. "Don't let them know they hurt you."
Inside, he was devastated.
Moments later in the locker room, Maldonado broke down. He had struggled with his sexual orientation for years, confiding in just a small group of people including one of his best friends and teammate McKenzie Akers. He had just that week told his parents that he was gay. While they weren't sure how to take it, they said they still loved him no matter what.
Away from the court with only his team in the locker room, Maldonado slammed his fist against a locker, fell onto a bench and cried.
"I sat back down and realized that I had just came out, and it was definitely not the way I wanted to. Reflecting back to this moment I realize that there was nothing I could do about it. My coach came back in and said, 'one of our players is in pain, you all need to be there for him.'
"My teammates asked what was wrong, and what he had said to me. McKenzie told them to stop questioning me, but they kept asking and asking. It just built up this pressure in me.
"I finally stood up and said, ‘I'm gay, I'm gay, okay?'"
Maldonado hadn't wanted to come out while he played sports at all, a byproduct of years of subtle messages about gay men not being capable athletes. Moments after feeling the crush of the gay slur, Maldonado had - in a fit of emotion - come out to his entire team.
"If you weren't there, it's hard to describe how emotional Dalton was," Akers said. "He was crying so hard he was shaking. Like, physically shaking. I felt awful."
It was about to get worse.

Click here to read the full article
Source: OutSports, Cyd Zeigler, April 5, 2015


AOM said...

Incredible there is that type of hate still around. So glad that his teammates and coaches supported him. Thanks for sharing this story. Cheers, AOM

another country said...

I couldn't agree more, Phil. Coming out has always been a challenge and in many cases (most? -- all, in some parts of the world) it still is. It is hard to believe that some kids are actually kicked out of their own homes by their parents when they find out that their son is gay! And talk about getting yourself a pizza in Indiana when you're LGBT! Have a good Easter weekend! :)