Outsports is the world's leading gay-sports publication. They talk about gay sports organizations and events. Sports and gay athletes information on jocks, sports news and more. They encompass the sporting passions of gay and lesbian sports fans everywhere.
Vox Media’s SB Nation is the fastest-growing online sports media brand and the largest network of more than 300 individual fan-centric sports communities, including SBNation.com, our national flagship property.
Outsports, the SB Nation community covering sports from an LGBTQ perspective, is looking for a new Manager. The Manager would be responsible for the following deliverables:
Making sure the site is publishing every day, covering issues relevant to sports fans and athletes in the LGBTQ community from a variety of perspectives, and at a volume high enough for the site to continue to grow but with flexibility to work at your own pace and convenience.
Facilitate management and growth of the site’s social media channels.
Oversee contributors that cover LGBTQ sports news on the site, and edit stories for publication.
Communicate with SB Nation about site goals, traffic, and progress.
Moderating and maintaining a vibrant, welcoming site community.
The best candidates will:
Have a passion for the subject matter and already be familiar with SB Nation’s voice and standards.
Have a familiarity with existing coverage in the space.
Understand how to use popular social media networks, like Twitter and Facebook, and be willing to adapt to new best practices.
Be able to produce and edit clean copy.
Be able to cultivate an online community of passionate sports fans.
Have the organizational skills to manage multiple people.
Be comfortable working remotely.
This is a contractor position that pays a monthly stipend. Some daytime availability is preferred.
Mara Åkesson found struggles and some loneliness as an LGBTQ athlete in Sweden, and she’s sharing her story to help others.
When I was a young girl, I dated boys. That’s just what you did as a young girl. But when I was 13, I started to feel something different, like I wanted to be dating other girls instead, and one girl in particular.
My friend and I would hang out a lot, and I started to develop feelings for her, physical attraction and everything. But I never told her. There wasn’t any particular reason I never shared that with her.
At the time I thought it was normal, to have some kind of attraction to girls. I’m a human just like everyone else, so I figured my feelings were similar to others, and I was 110% sure that I thought girls were for me.
Five years later I came out on Twitter, and that’s when all the problems started to show up. Some people at school pushed me away, girls I played football with and against looked at me differently and I felt alone.
I didn’t know what to do with my life. All I did each day was come home from school or practice and sit in my room crying, asking myself if it’s worth living since I was bullied about being who I am.
On a daily basis I would get asked questions I either couldn’t answer or didn’t want to answer.
“Have you ever fantasized about someone on the team?”
“Who’s got the biggest boobs?”
“Who’s got the nicest booty?”
“Do you get horny taking a shower with the girls on your team?”
And the one that some of the guys would lay on me:
I started wondering if what I was feeling really was unique. I wondered if I was the only one, even though I knew I couldn’t be.
“It’s easier to have sex with a boy, so come on just have sex with me, I promise not to give you a child”
That last bit irritated me the most, I think, because it came from boys or even older men who simply wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.
I started wondering if what I was feeling really was unique. I wondered if I was the only one, even though I knew I couldn’t be. I wondered where there were other people like me. I thought about quitting football.
As the harassment continued, I wondered if I should date boys to feel normal, like all the other people that I know. I wanted to be like my friends at school.
It was a hard time and I thought I’d never get through it. But I did. Somehow I found the strength and the courage to accept myself. I found a way to ignore all the hate and remind myself that I’m also human, and I have all the rights to love who I want no matter what people say.
Still, my dad can’t believe that I’m gay because of all those years of me trying to not be. He hasn’t hated me for it, he just doesn’t believe it. Yes, I did date some boys because I thought it might make me turn straight. Of course, it did not.
When I finally met one beautiful girl in particular, I felt for her more than I’d ever felt for any boy. We ended up dating for a while and that’s when I could finally tell myself, beyond any doubt, that I will eventually marry a woman.
Being out and being my true self with the world has helped my self-confidence grow tremendously.
I want to talk publicly about this now because no one should ever go through the same things I did. Loneliness is a difficult place to live. The pain, tears, sleepless nights. I hope that by sharing my story it will inspire others to be their true selves. I’m inspired to make a difference, and I’m so proud of being a lesbian athlete. Being out and being my true self with the world has helped my self-confidence grow tremendously.
Feeling proud about it is easier said than done, but I know that the more we fight against all the haters, we will continue the work of being accepted by others, but most of all accepted by ourselves.
“I continued it as I was moving around the country and wherever I was, I was always trying to take piano lessons,” Radford said of his youth playing piano as a figure skating wunderkind. “One of the main reasons I stuck with it is it provided a great balance with skating. If I was having a bad day at the rink or at school I’d come home and my piano was a sanctuary. I could sit down and the world would melt away.”
Radford is still skating professionally. In the coming months he and Duhamel will perform in Dallas, Italy and a Canadian tour of Stars On Ice.
“Music is my other passion,” Radford said. “I’m at the very beginning of a whole new part of my life. I feel so lucky that I have the platform of my skating to launch this part of my life. I’m looking forward to having more time to write more and more and get into the studio and release it all and see what happens.”
Radford revealed that Skate Canada commissioned him to write and perform a piece for the Grand Prix Final, which was held in British Columbia over the weekend. That piece is not yet available online.
Bennett Sherr battled a rare orthopedic disease while coming to grips with being gay, and found empowerment on the mat.
It was a flyer tacked to the cafeteria bulletin board in middle school that introduced me to scholastic wrestling.
I was shocked to discover that as a sport, wrestling did not involve costumes or grand entrances through the fog of dry ice. Wrestling was, however, the only winter sport available to sixth graders at my school and there would be no cuts.
Team membership defined what was “normal” for a preadolescent boy. Since I was known for periodically having titanium devices drilled through my flesh to stretch the bones of my arms and legs underneath, I desperately craved normalcy. I also coveted a warm-up jacket with my name on the back. I was positive that slipping into team apparel emblazoned with “SHERR” from shoulder to shoulder would fill me with a dramatic sense of belonging.
When I was 7, I was diagnosed with MHE (Multiple HereditaryExostoses), a rare orthopedic disorder with no cure or effective treatment that would see hundreds of hard, spiky tumors grow outward from bones and growth plates throughout my body. MHE affects 1 in 50000 births.My journey with MHE led me through 21 different osteotomies — bone surgeries for tumor removal, deformity correction and bone lengthening.
Much of my time as a child was spent in travel to medical procedures, post-op physical therapies or with titanium devices protruding from my flesh that made me look like a mid-evolution transformer, none of which I can tell you makes finding friends at a new school any easier.
Couple my external complexities with being in the closet and my need to find any affinity group willing to welcome me suddenly becomes understandable. I was the kid who absolutely should not wrestle, yet wrestling’s “no cut” policy was a way to provide me with a sense of acceptance. From the day I first stepped onto the mat, I was bound to a team that simply had to take me. I thought it was as close as I was going to get to closeness with others.
Bennett Sherr, shown at age 11, underwent dozens of surgeries as a child.
At first, I heard “spaz” from my teammates more than my name, then “dude” as I racked up some wins. “Bennett” arrived with my first championship. Once labeled too fragile, my victories came from pure stubbornness and a regimen of 400 sit-ups a day. As my name advanced on brackets in state and national tournaments, it seemed I was at last accepted; two years in a row I was selected captain of my middle school team and I became a New Jersey State qualifier.
Nonetheless, intimacy and brotherhood still eluded me. In high school in Massachusetts, I was the northern New England champ, a prep national qualifier, a bona fide athlete often featured in the newspaper. Yet I still felt incomplete.
It was during my freshman year of high school that I first started telling people that I was gay. Initially, my closest friends and then my family, everyone I told met my revelation with pure acceptance. In saying this, I am fully aware of the privilege that I had in going to the progressive boarding school that I attended.
Because of the love and acceptance I experienced living my truth, I was finally able to find that elusive sense of belonging that always seemed just out of reach.
Phillips Academy Andover is often described as a liberal bubble and conversations surrounding topics of identity were commonplace in the dorms and for the most part, LGBT students were welcomed with open arms into the community.
Members of my high school wrestling team were unfazed, happy to share the mat with a gay teammate. Because of the love and acceptance I experienced living my truth, I was finally able to find that elusive sense of belonging that always seemed just out of reach. Recognition was the permission to just be me — and with that, I automatically belonged everywhere I was.
Midway through my high school wrestling career, I found myself in a bright medical exam room, watching as three doctors studied the illuminated X-ray pattern of destruction inside me from the unlikely marriage of MHE and wrestling.
Some new and many, many old fractured bone tumors ravaged my knees, shoulder and ribs. Of particular concern was my left wrist. Another surgery was scheduled; the result did not go as well as all had hoped. Although always able to work back to the varsity level after previous surgeries, the cumulative damage by this point was insurmountable. Physically, wrestling was gone, and with it, I feared so was what made me special. Not whole, or included, but special in a different or good way — something I was good at performing.
My high school’s Community and Multicultural Development Office (CAMD) — the external embodiment of all the internal love and peace I felt when I came out — spurred my interest in activism. There I found a new mat to spar on — one of social justice.
Much of the time that I had once spent physically training was now spent organizing forums on topics surrounding ableism and queerness. Social justice conferences became monthly occurrences and I was selected by the faculty and administration to lead a mandatory seminar for sophomore students on topics of identity.
While fulfilled in this new role, I still longed for some type of ambitious physical exertion. Competitors find it hard to leave competition. With my left wrist still (forever) an issue, I focused on sports where I could better use my more dominant and sturdier right side.
After a few years practicing, and without expectation, I tried out for my former college’s tennis team. To my surprise, I was awarded a varsity spot playing fifth singles and second doubles on a team that finished fourth at the NJCAA National Tournament. Now at Cornell University, I am on the varsity table tennis team.
With each new evolution of myself as an athlete, I have enjoyed team camaraderie without my sexuality or disability being a concern.
With each new evolution of myself as an athlete, I have enjoyed team camaraderie without my sexuality or disability being a concern. Often showing up to practice or warming up for a match in my “Be True” gear, I am greeted by teammates or opponents warmly, with inquiries into where to find the apparel themselves. The fears I had as a closeted, pathetically awful wrestler in middle school seem so distant, and yet I remember them — the panic and isolation — that I felt so acutely.
Brotherhood is more than team membership, more than fraternity, more than fellowship — it is cooperation in making the lives of each other better.
We do not need to be completely like-minded and life-similar individuals — or on the same sports teams — to create a close-knit community built from kindness and mutual respect. Opportunities for inclusion abound, and that is why I am telling my story.
There are not many LGBT people with visible and invisible disabilities comfortable in discussing that aspect of them, let alone those also in athletics. I hope this platform reaches other LGBT people with disabilities — in and out of sports — to show them that they are valid and they are not alone. A sense of belonging is a powerful thing.
Bennett Sherr is a sophomore at Cornell University studying Industrial and Labor Relations with a minor in LGBT Studies. He is a member of Cornell’s Varsity Table Tennis Team. He works with numerous organizations, such as the Trevor Project where he is a member of the National Youth Ambassador Council. Bennett can be reached on Instagram @beanieb99 or via email at email@example.com.
As for his health, Bennett has been extremely lucky to have not yet developed any malignant tumors. Given their location on the growth plates, all of the benign tumors from the MHE stopped growing when he did. There is a potential for them to become cancerous, but the chances are slim (some estimates say about 5% to 10% of MHE patients will develop some form of sarcoma in their lifetime).
I feel like it’s finally time we show Russell Wilson the respect he deserves. He gets the start this week because he’s facing a terrible defense in the 49ers. Despite a poor performance Monday night against the Vikings where he threw for less than 100 yards, he dropped four TD’s against the Niners the week before, so he’s bound to have a good week.
Rodgers played well in his first game without head coach Mike McCarthy, but this week, he draws the Bears, a team that allowed just six points to the best offense in the league on Sunday Night Football.
Howard and Gore played well last week despite tough matchups against the Rams and Patriots, respectively. This week both battle teams within the NFC North, where running is hard to come by, but definitely manageable for both these backs.
This is your reminder that there are Saturday NFL games this week. Both Hopkins and Thielen had some of their worst performances of the season last week, but look for them to bounce back as both draw favorable AFC East matchups.
With our usual pick, the Chargers, facing Kansas City on Thursday Night Football, another option had to be brought to the forefront. The Ravens make sense given that they are facing a team in a cold-weather environment that is not used to it and the defense is dominant at home. They are the top defense in the league that nearly took down the league’s top offense. Terrell Suggs and the Ravens are legit.
Both of these kickers are not the greatest play this week, but McManus edges out Prater for the simple fact that he’s at home playing in an important game. Meanwhile, Prater heads out to Buffalo in a useless game against a top-notch defense on the road.
Reid said she wants to use her golf platform to work with people who support her, and to inspire others.
Mel Reid, a golfer on the LPGA Tour, has come out publicly as gay. The 31-year-old English golfer said she has found acceptance in her sport.
“The Tour is a very welcoming community and it’s rare that anyone has an issue with sexuality or openly express any issues,” Reid said. “The only problem we run into is that being gay is still illegal or frowned upon in certain countries we play in. There are also a lot of male-dominated sponsors that are looking for certain types of players, so that’s why I have felt I can’t be quite as open as I would like to be when it comes to my personal life.”
Reid was the Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year in 2008.
“I’ve always fought for equality and I’m now at a point where I want brands to represent me for me,” Reid told ESPNW. “Ultimately I feel like I’m on a platform where I can have some sort of an influence. It’s just important to say to people that this is who I am. Hopefully it will help a couple of young girls or guys.”
LGBTQ College Roundup: Mount Union’s Jason Hadley makes return to racing.
ALLIANCE, Ohio — Mount Union senior Jason Hadley took the lead early in the race, but in Laps 3 and 4, he felt his energy disappear.
Freshman teammate Jack Fortner came up on Hadley the final lap of the five-lap 1,000-meter race, and the freshman said to the senior, “Come on Jason, let’s go.”
In Hadley’s first race in eight months, Fortner’s encouragement pushed Hadley to a third-place finish in 2 minutes, 53.25 seconds.
“I was still a little off. I’m not back 100 percent yet,” said Hadley, who is gay. “It wasn’t horrible, but it felt good to be back running again.”
Jason Hadley, far left, stands with his Mount Union cross country teammates before the All-Ohio meet on Sept. 29, 2018. Hadley ran the start of that race as a planned workout, but he had not built the endurance to finish the race.
Hadley had not raced since April 7, and Mount Union’s indoor track season opener Dec. 1 coincided with the start of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week, which spanned Dec. 1-7.
Crohn’s disease is what sidelined Hadley for eight months.
He’d been diagnosed with the disease as a high school junior. He ran with no major problems the first 2 ½ years of his college career. Then last spring, he felt his ability to run deteriorate.
“I started feeling sick towards indoor track, and I was still running and doing workouts, but I wasn’t racing or competing that well,” Hadley said. “My symptoms kept getting worse and worse, and I kept running slower and slower. It was a gradual decline in my fitness.”
Mount Union’s Jason Hadley runs a cross country race in 2016.
The main symptoms were fatigue, diarrhea and abdominal pain. But then in May, for several days in a row, he experienced massive amounts of blood in his bowel movements, which led to dizziness. He’d spend five days in the hospital and received five units of blood. He needed surgery in June to remove part of his intestine.
“I was severely anemic over the summer, and I lost a lot of blood so that’s why I had to have the bowel resection,” Hadley said.
Laying in the hospital for five days in May, Hadley thought his college running career might be done.
His recovery to regain his endurance forced him to miss cross country season, but he’s back hoping to enjoy his final indoor and outdoor track and field season.
Jason Hadley, third from left, stands with his clinical group at Mount Union. Hadley will receive his bachelor’s degree in nursing in May 2019.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Hadley is running 35 to 40 miles a week, but that remains far below the 60-mile weeks he ran regularly last season.
Hadley has been out as gay since his freshman year at Mount Union, and he’s now proud of his sexuality. He said he finds it harder to talk about having Crohn’s than talking about being a gay man.
“People just don’t want to share that they’re sick because then you don’t want people to view you as being sick all the time,” Hadley said, but he is learning, “it’s important for people to share their stories and experiences living with Crohn’s Disease.”
Jason Hadley can be reached on Instagram at @Jason_703. He’ll be graduating in May from University of Mount Union with a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBTQ. Results are for competitions that took place Nov. 26-Dec. 9.
Philip Batler(junior, Brown men’s track & field) took second in the 200 meters (22.93 seconds) at the Alden Invitational on Dec. 1.
Abrahm DeVine (senior, Stanford men’s swimming) and Kennedy Lohman (junior, Texas women’s swimming) competed at the Texas Invite on Nov. 28 to Dec. 1. DeVine competed in six events led by winning the 200-yard individual medley (1 minute, 42.71 seconds). Lohman competed in five events with her best result a win in the 100 breaststroke (59.86 seconds).
Taylor Emery (senior, Virginia Tech women’s basketball) scored 22 points in a 67-51 win against Rutgers during the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 28, and Emery had a game-high 21 points against rival Radford during a 55-44 win on Dec. 4. Virginia Tech stayed perfect this season at 9-0.
Recap: #Hokies move to 8-0 with 67-51 win over Rutgers in ACC/Big Ten Challenge Wednesday night.@tayemery01 led all scorers with 22 points, @KendylB_03 adds 11 and Magarity grab 14 boards.
Connor Griffin (senior, Fordham men’s swimming) finished fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.14) during a meet against Manhattan on Dec. 5.
Matt Kravitz (junior, Lehigh men’s track & field) won the 800 meters (1:56.75) at the Lehigh Season Opener on Dec. 1. He followed that by winning the 1,000 meters (2:30.37) at the Fast Time Before Finals meet on Saturday.
Will Lynch (senior, Vermont men’s track & field) finished third in the high jump (5 foot, 10.75 inches) at Saturday’s season-opening four-team meet. Lynch was named a captain for the team in November.
Charlie Minns (junior, Princeton men’s diving) won the 3-meter springboard (395.9 points) and took second on 1-meter (304.05) at the Brown Invite on Nov. 30-Dec. 2. In a dual meet at Columbia on Saturday, he took second on 3-meter springboard (389.18) and third on 1-meter (340.81).
Princeton diver Charlie Minns takes off on the springboard during a meet on Nov. 10, 2018.
Antonio Woodard (redshirt junior, Iowa men’s track & field) won the 60 meters (6.88 seconds) and the 300 meters (32.89 seconds) at Saturday’s Grant Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa. He set a facility record in the 300 meters. Woodard also sang the national anthem before the Iowa-Wisconsin men’s basketball game on Nov. 29.
Stephanie White (head coach, Vanderbilt women’s basketball) and Kelly Komara (assistant coach, Vanderbilt women’s basketball) led the Commodores (4-5 overall) to a 1-1 record the last two weeks with a 72-61 loss at Kansas State and a 60-43 win at Ball State.
Kyle Davis (senior, Ithaca men’s track & field) finished 13th in long jump (20 feet, 4 inches) and 25th in the 60-meter dash (7.48 seconds) at the Page Relays on Dec. 1 to open the indoor track season.
Alec Donovan (redshirt junior, Centenary wrestling) took third place by going 5-1 in the 165-pound bracket at the Cyclone Open on Dec. 2.
Matthew Garza (junior, Johns Hopkins men’s swimming) competed in four events at the Brown Invite on Nov. 30-Dec. 2, and his best individual result was 20th in the 200-yard butterfly (1:54.85).
A post shared by Matthew Garza (@mattgarza98) on Nov 30, 2018 at 11:38am PST
Lex Horwitz (senior, Bowdoin men’s squash) lost his match against Trinity’s Graham Gozigian 11-5, 11-5, 11-3 on Dec. 1. In Bowdoin’s 5-4 win against Tufts on Saturday, Horwitz lost his match 11-4, 11-2, 11-3.
Lexie Gerson (head coach, Harcum women’s basketball) led the Bears (7-3 overall) to go 2-3 during its five consecutive road games over the past two weeks.
Layne Ingram (head coach, Lansing women’s basketball) guided the Stars (2-5 overall) to a 1-2 record the last two weeks, which includes Friday’s 66-64 overtime loss to Calvin College.
Erik Hall can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @HallErik or Facebook. If you are an out LGBTQ athlete or coach and want your accomplishments recognized, please email Erik.
“F**k me f**king gays, I have a f**king phobia … everywhere I go there’s always a gay punk watching me … Everything your community does, everything you do, everything you represent, shits me, I will never accept it. I know that Hitler was a bad person, but in that I support him. The plague gays are a pest.”
Obviously it’s not a perfect translation, but it certainly gives an idea of what he was trying to say.
While expressing his (maybe the heaviest quotes we’ve ever used) “apology,” Larralde couldn’t help but show his feelings about gay people by retweeting (even after his non-apology) these tweets (translated by Microsoft from Spanish):
They [the gays] talk about lack of tolerance towards them and are the least tolerant
Stop your Hate LGBT community, El Chavo already apologizes, you are becoming the stalkers...
...gays want to respect them, but they are unable to respect...
Larralde posted several “apology” videos in which he does a complete about-face, saying that he completely supports LGBTQ people, he just doesn’t like being harassed by gay men. Which, apparently, means they are a plague and should be exterminated. OK.
A couple days ago he posted that he will “retire from Twitter. Again with an apology 100% sincere.”
Max Korten’s story of coming out and having autism brings understanding to a community that needs it.
Editor’s Note: According to www.twainbow.org, a website dedicated to assisting people with LGBT+ and autistic citizens, there are 223,202 people in the United States who identify on the Autism spectrum and are LGBT+. Also, www.tainbow.org had mentioned that there are 318.86 million people in the United States. If you do the calculations, people who identify as autistic and LGBT+ are represented as, 0.0007% of the United States population.
Before coming out as gay, I always knew I was “that kid” in school from my autism. The one who was getting pulled out of class for occupational and speech therapy, the kid who would have meltdowns in class, and the one who would be seeing therapists inside and outside of school.
When I was very young, my parents and my sister were informed that I would never be able to talk, and I would be best put into an institution for people with disabilities.
While I received a tremendous amount of help, and constantly thank these educators for changing my life, I always felt different and awkward. From feeling different and awkward, I never had the confidence to express myself when I spoke to others my age. I was always alone and rarely got invited to people’s houses when I was younger. It was especially hard at times when everyone had their cliques and friends, and I felt a sense of isolation.
That all changed when I joined the track and cross-country team in seventh grade. Before running I was a swimmer, and for some odd reason swimming always helped with my running speed.
When I moved school districts in seventh grade, my parents thought I should join the track and cross-country team because there was not a swimming team. To be honest, when I first started, I was really bad. I could not jog around the school yard without stopping at least three times. I would also drop out of races because I would get so frustrated and upset because running was so challenging for me. While it was difficult – and I don’t remember why I did this – I decided to sign up for cross-country and track in eighth grade.
I decided to run a little over the summer with my dad so I could be prepared for the next season. By my eighth-grade cross-country and track seasons, I was finishing in the top during races, and I almost won a 1500-meter race. I remember my name being called on the loud-speakers for my accomplishments.
While the kids in my grade thought I was still “that kid,” they now knew me as having a talent for running fast. This instilled some confidence since I was still struggling socially, and school was becoming increasingly hard.
In high school I found a home amongst the track community and made some friends who I still think will be at my wedding.
In high school I found a home amongst the track community and made some friends who I still think will be at my wedding. Not only did I get faster, but I found a group of people to hang out who made me feel appreciated for who I was, and who didn’t judge me based on my autism.
This got complicated when I reached eleventh grade. By then I was starting to explore my sexuality more. When I was younger I had a few thoughts about liking boys. I did not really know what it meant, and it was difficult for me to analyze what these thoughts correlated to because of my Autism.
I remember watching Glee, and the character Kurt got pushed into the locker room by another football player for being gay. Additionally, I had learned in my history class that gay people were thought of as bad and would be sent to hell because they were going against the Bible. Feeling very uncomfortable and vulnerable about this, I could not really comprehend how to handle it.
When I was younger I was taught by my teachers, speech therapists and parents that if anything was wrong, I could talk to them about it. However, since I realized that being gay was such a controversial issue, I thought it would be better to talk about the incident with my therapist and my close friends.
While I did speak to my therapist and my friends about being possibly gay, I thought that coming out in high school would ruin my opportunity to run track in college. I wanted to run track and cross-country in college because it had given me that sense of belonging while I was in high school. I did not want to lose that community because it helped me growing socially and intellectually with my autism.
I told my friends and therapist that I thought I must have been confused, and I was therefore “straight.”
When I committed to Moravian College, I was excited and ready to start the next phase of my life. I did not want people to know about my autism or parts of my past life. I wanted to shed off an old layer of skin. My freshman year I was extremely outgoing and I vowed to myself to make as many friends as possible. I also thought since I was “straight,” I would attempt to have a girlfriend and play it cool amongst my teammates.
Very quickly I was having a problem transitioning into college with my secret identity. I did not want to go to counseling or the disability support office, which were services offered to me in high school, because I worried people would see me as “that kid” again. I was starting to make friends, and I did not want to screw up.
Also, I started to become more aware of my sexual orientation as gay, even though I was trying to act “straight.” From this all happening, my grades slipped and I did poorly in some races.
I began feeling unhappy and pondered if Moravian was the place for me.
However, it was not Moravian, it was me. I was letting my sexual orientation and my disability affect me with how I wanted to live my life in college.
Throughout late October and November, I came out to my friends and my teammates. I did not “come out” about my autism – I would wait until the following year for that – but I was honest with some of my friends about needing counseling and going to the disability support office.
For the most part, people did not care that I was gay or had autism. My friends at Moravian liked me for who I was, what my interests were, and cared about me as an individual and not about my sexuality or disability.
I also had friends later in my college career who told me stories about their struggles they faced growing up. This made me come to the realization that everyone had some challenge or circumstance they were going through whether it was noticeable or not. This may sound cliché, but coming from my prior background, I felt like I was the only one who did not have their ducks lined up.
Once I was fully “out”, my running times significantly improved, I joined Greek Life, I did well in school, and I was awarded the Who’s who among students in colleges and universities, which is a very prestigious award given to a select group of student with high academics, strong extracurricular activities and involvement outside and inside the college community. Additionally, I got a masters in Higher Education from Merrimack College and graduated this past May.
I don’t need identity to define me... I have to be the one to define my identity.
Sexuality and disability definitely play an integral part in a person’s life. For me, it has played a huge role within my 25 years of existence. I have definitely grown a lot since high school and college.
I realized that I don’t need identity to define me despite preconceived notions. I have to be the one to define my identity.
Thank you to my family, friends, Moravian, my educators, and running for helping me realize this.