Thursday, October 22, 2015

I am gay. 
Wow, it feels good to write those words. 
For most of my life I’ve been afraid to embrace that truth about myself. Recently though, I’ve gotten to the point where the pain of holding onto the lie is greater than the fear of letting go, and I’m proud to finally be letting my guard down. 
My sexuality has been something I’ve struggled to come to terms with. I’ve known I was gay since I was a kid but growing up in a town of 2,000 people, a class of 48 kids and then turning pro as an athlete when I was 16, it just wasn’t something I wanted to accept. I pushed my feelings away in the hopes that it was a passing phase but the thought of being found out kept me up at night. I constantly felt anxious, depressed and even suicidal. 
Looking back, it’s crazy to see how far I’ve come. For most of my life I’ve dreaded the day that people would find out I was gay. 
Now, I couldn’t be more excited to tell you all the truth. Whether you've suspected it all along or it's a complete shock, it’s important for me to be open and honest with you all. Y’all have supported me through a lot of my highs and lows and I hope you'll stay by my side as I make this transformation into the genuine me - the me that I’ve always really been. I am so thankful to @ESPN for giving me this opportunity and to Alyssa Roenigk for telling my story to the world. 
I think about the pain I put myself through by closeting myself for so long and it breaks my heart. If only I knew then what I know now: that the people who love you, who really care about you, will be by your side no matter what; and, that those who aren’t accepting of you are not the people you want or need in your life anyway. 
Part of the reason I had such a difficult time as a kid was that I didn’t know anyone in my position and didn’t have someone to look up to, who’s footsteps I could follow in.
I hope to be that person for a younger generation, to model honesty and transparency and to show people that there’s nothing cooler than being yourself and embracing the things that make you unique. Click the link in my bio to read the full story and keep your eyes peeled for the Nov issue on newsstands soon!

American Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy has come out of the closet, making the announcement on Twitter and Facebook earlier today.

American Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy
American Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy

Gay college soccer player
in rural Idaho comes out on Facebook

Macoy McLaughlin
Macoy McLaughlin

Macoy McLaughlin is a sophomore with the North Idaho College men's soccer team. He came out to everyone in his life on Facebook this weekend. He wanted to share his message with everyone in hopes of inspiring other gay athletes to do the same.
"I believe that moments of impact define us. For years I let the opinions of society and the opinions of others define me more than these key moments that really shaped who I was. Coming out to my parents in February might have been the most important moment of my life.
I was housesitting for some friends at the time and decided to chill out in a long bath. Like ya do. As I sat there relaxing in the warm water, I couldn't stop thinking about when to tell my parents that I'm gay.
I had planned on telling them months earlier, before I came to college. I got nervous and pushed it back to Thanksgiving. Worrying about how they would take the news and having a month-long Christmas break approaching, I decided at Thanksgiving to tell them at the end of Christmas break in January. The second I stepped out of the door on my way back to school in January I had a knot in my stomach, knowing that I was yet again procrastinating.
I felt foolish because I knew they loved me. I was their son and there was nothing I could do to change their love for me. Yet the fear of change was holding me back. I don't adapt well to change, so I was petrified of the possibility that my family, the people I love the most, would change even though I had no reason to think so.
In the tub that night in February, like clockwork, the knot formed back in my stomach just thinking about telling them. I knew that it was now or never and that I had to do it.
I dialed the home phone and waited for someone to pick up. It was my dad who answered, so he was up first. I told him to go into the other room so no one could hear him. I procrastinated even more, asking him about his work day and my sister's soccer schedule. I reassured him that I knew he loved me regardless. Then...
"I'm gay."
The two seconds of silence seemed like an eternity.
"I still love you," he said, "and I'm proud of you."

The floodgates opened and a wave of chills covered my body. I felt a weight rocket off of my shoulders. The wave of chills gave way to a deluge of tears. I couldn't stop crying. To know that a man I aspire to be like was proud of me moved me.
After a round of questions, the phone got handed to my mom. Her motherly instinct took over and was worried about why I was crying. She offered another reassurance of love and pride for me. She followed in tears shortly after, so we were at least a mess together.
I had my first conversation with my parents where I was my honest self, where I didn't have to hide anything. In this moment I felt completely invincible. I was true and fearless. I knew that the journey ahead of becoming fully comfortable with myself would be long, but with the two people I care about the most behind me I couldn't be stopped.
Trying to summarize a huge part of my life that has been haunting me has been anything but easy. Growing up in central Montana isn't the ideal place to be different from others. I couldn't stand the thought of being different from everyone else and letting that lone factor of my life identify me to them.
Being gay isn't the only thing that makes me who I am.
I am a son, a brother, a grandson, a cousin, a nephew, a friend, a classmate, and a teammate from high school and college. I am the guy you went to YoungLife with, a Zumiez coworker, a nursing major, the guy you see skiing up at Showdown, the guy you saw during Sam's memorial. I am the same exact person you saw today, yesterday, or even the day before. I have been Macoy this whole time. It's only now that I am comfortable enough to share my true self with you."  Read more.
Source: OutSports, October 26, 2015

Gay North Carolina high school football player
was depressed despite 'having it all'

Student body president. Recruited football player. Loads of friends. Caring family.
Miserable. Coping with suicidal thoughts.
That was me in high school, the kid who appeared to have this life together, who seemed to have it all. Yet for most of it I was suffering through depression that robbed this seemingly happy kid of energy, productivity, and a quality of life I feel everyone deserves.
I was born and raised in a tiny town an hour west of Charlotte, N.C. My entire county has about 60,000 residents. Every fall is consumed by football, every spring by baseball and every Sunday by church. There's only a handful of stop lights and you can almost guarantee you will run into someone you know just about every time you leave the house.
Having interests that didn't include baseball or hunting in a farm town was at times difficult. I grew up competing in gymnastics, participating in my local theater and loving art class. I never quite fit the mold of every other guy my age around my home town, but with the encouragement of my parents I stuck with what I loved.
Eventually I literally grew out of gymnastics and took up club soccer. I played soccer competitively for several years before transitioning to high school varsity soccer as a freshmen. My eighth grade year I decided to play football with the intent of kicking, but didn't make the cut as a kicker. I planned on not playing football in high school to focus more on soccer, but after hearing that a kicker was needed I reluctantly gave it another shot and made the cut. I kicked Junior Varsity my Freshmen year, and eventually was named Varsity Conference Kicker of the Year as a sophomore.
After realizing a lot of early success and talking to a few colleges about potential scholarships, I decided to focus on football my junior and senior years. While things couldn't have been going better on the field, it was as an upper class man that I realized something wasn't "clicking."
While all my teammates were talking about girls in the locker room I couldn't have been more uncomfortable. I had no interest in the topic whatsoever. As a high school boy, this was not the norm, and a few guys began to notice. Not knowing the answer myself, I denied many times having any interest in guys, but the denials weren't enough to quiet the questions.
I dated girls as a way to further confirm my straight "cred" to the team... and frankly, to myself too. It worked for a while. At one point my sophomore season I had kicked game-winning field goals in two games, I had a girlfriend, and I had earned the respect of many teammates almost overnight. As things progressed in my relationships, unlike a lot of the guys who were bragging about who ‘had gone the furthest' I once again couldn't have been more uninterested. There was no emotional connection, much less a sexual connection, with my girlfriend. Through that season I slipped into the darkest time of my life: Deep down I knew I was gay, and there was nothing I could do about it. I wanted so badly to be straight, but I knew there was no more denying who I was.
Unknown to anyone at the time, I struggled daily with anxiety and severe depression. I wrestled privately with suicidal thoughts for months. Bullying and harassment increased at school. People in passing cars screamed homophobic slurs at me. At one point another vehicle literally ran me off the road. All of it was because I was coming out of my cocoon, finding the need to be my truth. Yet simply because I was different, life was becoming a living hell. Loneliness took hold.
Although all of those instances were scary, one of the darkest memories I have is sitting in my bedroom floor in the pitch black night crying out for God to please end my life. No one at school knew I was having these thoughts but they were all too real for me. The only way I can try and describe going through such a dark time is like being in a transparent box, under water. There are people on the surface but no one can here you scream for help as you sink deeper and deeper. On several occasions, I missed school, not because "I had a fever" but because the social anxiety was too much for me to take.
The days that I did go to school, I put on a smile and faked my happiness. On the inside I couldn't have been more miserable. I would go home and lay in my bed from the time I walked through the door until the time I woke up the morning, simply because I was exhausted from faking who I really was all day. For whatever reason, I never felt like it was ok to be depressed. I saw it as almost taboo and for a long time refused to even call it depression. I felt alone because I was convinced no one felt like I did.
I found out later my very best friend was going through a similar battle with depression. At the time neither of us talked about it, but it just goes to show you are never alone.
This wasn't in the Nineties. This wasn't even four or five years ago. This was last year. In 2014, loneliness nearly took my life.
Before it was too late, my parents found out I was gay. They were shocked at first. Yet there was relief as well, to know why I was having such an obvious internal struggle. They showered me with love. Although at the time they didn't completely understand it, I have never once questioned their love for me. I can't thank them enough for this and will forever be grateful for the love and support they show me.
Eventually I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The day came when I was able to finally look myself in the mirror and say "I am gay." I soon confided in one friend that I was in fact gay, like so many had suspected. From there my confidence grew. I began to tell my closest friends, then a few more. Eventually it became the worst-kept secret in town.
Without the help and love of my friends I know there is no way I would be here today. Being able to confide in a friend I trusted made the world of difference for me. The more people I told, the better I felt. The truth did set me free. I was finally able to live my life authentically. I discovered that being gay in no way at all defines me and is a very small part of my life. I am also a Christian, I am an athlete, I am a friend, I am a brother, I am a student. I am a list of other things that control my life so much more than being gay.
For a long time I have debated writing my story publicly. I don't want to seem self-indulgent, or that I am sharing this for attention. However, I can't live in fear any longer. I am willing to deal with people's false assumptions if it means somewhere out there some kid knows it's perfectly OK to not feel 100% all of the time. I am doing this piece because I can't get another text, see another Facebook post, or read about another person in the news who ended their life because they had no one there for them.
We have to talk about mental health issues, the stigma that is associated with being depressed, or having anxiety, has to be eliminated. It is OK to be gay. This is literally a life or death issue. No you aren't alone, and no you aren't any different than the varsity football player who looks like he has it all together. We need to know that we are here for each other.
You are not alone.
If you're LGBT and suffer from depression, call the Trevor Project hotline at 866-488-7386. (USA)
Harrison Wilkerson would love to hear from other LGBT youth struggling with loneliness or depression. You can reach him on Facebook @HWilkerson, on Twitter @HWilkerson22 or via email at
Source: OutSports, October 27, 2015


JiEL said...

C'est toujours de telles nouvelles qui démontrent que vivre son homosexualité ouvertement est bien mieux que de rester caché à tous.

Comme Tom Dailey et d'autres sportifs bien connus, il sera un model pour la jeunesse gaie.
Ce qui est le plus important c'est de vivre ses rêves, aller au bout de ses talents et démontrer que son orientation sexuel n'est qu'une facette banale de qui on est.

On ne dit jamais que «c'est un athlète hétérosexuel»...
Au même titre, être gai n'est pas la seule façon de définir quelqu'un.

Bravo encore.

another country said...

Tout est dit dans ce message. Je le publie en espérant qu'il trouvera un écho auprès d'un (ou plusieurs) lecteur(s) de ce blog. Ces "role models" sont essentiels : ils sauvent des vies et permettent à de jeunes homos de vivre enfin.

another country said...

I will keep posting these stories. They may help someone out there. I walked down this road when I was a teenager and I once came within a hair's ​breadth of taking my own life because I felt there was absolutely no future for me as a gay man. If you're reading this and you feel isolated and lost and confused and you're entertaining suicidal thoughts, do call a help line. Please do. If you've found (or if you're finding) this stories helpful, please contact me and let me know. It will be a sure sign that I must keep posting them. An remember: It gets better.

another country said...

Trevor Project hotline: 866-488-7386. (USA)