Earlier this week, OutSports.com shared the story of Jeremy, a 17-year-old high school student who is gay, an athlete, and living in a small rural town in the United States. After reading the stories of other gay high school athletes, Jeremy, who runs track and plays football, was inspired to write about his experiences and started a blog, “Standing Up Speaking Now.” In his OutSports piece, Jeremy talks about coming to terms with his sexual orientation and coming out to those closest to him, including his best friend and teammate, who replied, “Dude, I don’t see you any different. You’re the same person as before, you’re still family.” Unfortunately, not all of his experiences have been as pleasant, and Jamie has been the subject of school rumors, received hurtful comments, and has been rejected by some of his peers. While Jamie admits to being somewhat affected by these negative response, the support he has received has changed his life and allowed him to grow in ways he never thought possible. He is looking forward to college, and while he is an exceptionally talented athlete, his goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon.
Stories like Jeremy’s are not told often enough, but they have a powerful impact, especially for other young athletes who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The sports world can be a challenging place to come out, as anti-gay language far too frequently appears conversation amongst players and coaches, especially when tempers flare – but even in casual conversation. However, more and more LGBT-identified athletes and straight allies are coming forward and speaking about their experiences, working to end harmful stereotypes and language, and paving the way for future generations to feel welcome and safe in being who they are and doing what they love. GLAAD applauds Jeremy and OutSports.com for being a part of this important conversation that can help improve the lives of so many.
(image via outsports)