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Gay high school athletes share their experiences

Openly gay athletes are few and far between, especially in the highest levels of competition. Thanks to small-mindedness and discrimination, we queer folks have been systematically discouraged from participating in athletics. The number of openly gay professional athletes in America can literally be counted on one hand.

Three Pacifc Northwest teenagers are looking to change the queer-athletic landscape by launching a blog devoted to discussing their lives as gay high school athletes. Outsports.com recently published a coming out letter written by one of the kids to his parents.This letter (and its posting on a public website), and the blog that is to follow, are remarkable in that they come from an athlete who is so young, especially given that when elite gay athletes do come out, it is generally after they have retired.At least one of these kids fully plans on continuing his athletic career at the Division 1 college level. The fact that he doesn’t see being openly gay as any sort of impediment to his goals is a sign that our culture is changing, at least in our corner of the country, slowly but surely, one athlete at a time.

Their blog is slated to go live in the next week. Look for a follow-up post here soon!

Here is the letter below directly from OutSports who say the text has not been changed except to omit specific names.

Dear Mom and Dad,

My life has drastically changed since the new decade has started. Now that it is the end of the year I feel that it is time to fill you on with what has happened. On January 3, 2010 I told [a friend] I was gay. In June I told [another friend] I was gay. At ASB camp I told my group I was gay. In early December I told [another friend] I was gay. Last week I told [another friend] that I was gay. Now it is time to tell you guys I am gay.

I am not one of those stereotypical gays that you see on television that wear sparkles and make-up. I am me, Brad. I will still be exactly the same because I don’t think that being gay should change anything about you besides who you want to spend the rest of your life with.

I will always do sports and I am excited for the track season this year as well as being captain for cross country next year. I will never let being gay stop me from doing what I want to do. I still want to run cross country and track at a Division 1 college even though openly gay people are very rare to find in that competitive of a league.

I don’t know how the rest of the world will take this news, but I am rather sure most of my friends already know thanks to people telling each other. Instead of seeing this spread of gossip as a bad thing, I see it as reassurance in letting me know that my friends are my friends and they will never abandon me for some stupid reason such as this. My sports teams may take a little longer to come along but as some people have said, locker rooms may be homophobic but if you are a key person in winning then they will accept you, and yes I would say I am a key person in winning meets.

You ask why now? Well I am just done hiding who I truly am because of fear. Who will change people’s perceptions of gay people in sports for the younger generations if no one comes out and proves people wrong? I am ready to be me.

I love you guys and I know this would never affect anything between us. If anything I know it will strengthen our bond that we all share together. I don’t want you guys to worry about me in this process because I am a strong person and having amazing people all around me who will be by my side. I wrote this note to you instead of just telling you because I thought it would be awkward to bring up.

Love,
Brad

Editor’s note: Welcome to the qPDX team Aly Sneider! We look forward to more sports news in your contributions.

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