It’s still dark in his small Upper East Side apartment when the alarm clock introduces Wade Davis to this Thursday morning in late May. His partner, Steven, sleeps while Davis slips into his regalia: A checkered shirt, slick pants and a bright tie. He kisses Steven and says good-bye. He’ll be back in a few days.
He leaves the apartment as the sun rises, headed for Penn Station. It’s a welcome couple days out of the office for Davis, a staff member at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth. Ten years ago, Davis had never heard the term “LGBTQ.” While a closeted cornerback struggling to make a roster in the National Football League, he was as far from the gay community as Ryan Leaf is from the Hall of Fame. Now, as assistant director of job readiness at HMI, Davis prepares these youth for the workplace. He wrangles corporations to run workshops and counsels his students on career opportunities. It’s the closest role to “coach” he could find at the Institute.