At the 2014 Nike LGBT Sports Summit last week, one of the recurring themes we heard was the importance of athletes, coaches and other people in sports coming out publicly. Those shared stories have been a beacon of hope for many of the LGBT athletes and coaches who attended the Summit. Some young athletes even said those shared stories saved their lives.
No one should come out publicly until they're ready to do it. Coming out always has to be done in your own time. It always takes courage, because fear (particularly of the unknown) is always at play when anyone comes out. But if you think you might be ready to take the leap, there are millions of young people and adults you can help simply by sharing who you are.
Over the years countless people in sports have come out publicly on Outsports. We want you to join them. Every story resonates with someone else. High school swimmers are most impacted by stories of...high school swimmers. College lacrosse players are most impacted by stories of...college lacrosse players. Black athletes are inspired by stories of black athletes, women find strength in stories about other women. No matter who you are, sharing a piece of yourself with the world will help someone else find peace and happiness in their own life.
You can write your story yourself if you're a bit of a writer. Or we can work with you to tell your story ourselves if you'd rather not write it yourself. Either way, standing up and being counted as an LGBT athlete or coach can have a powerful impact.
To see some of the many people who have shared their lives on Outsports, check out our entire section dedicated to Coming Out Stories. At the Summit, we also noticed the dearth of coming-out stories about female athletes we have been able to carry (as witnessed by the photo above). While we're thrilled to have told some great stories this year like Charline Labonte and Lauren Neidigh, many more stories about female LGBT athletes and coaches must be told. And we need your help to do that.
If you think you're ready to take the leap, or if you're just not sure but you want to talk about it, feel free to reach out to us. Not only can we help shape your story, but we will connect you with other people like you and organizations like GO! Athletes, You Can Play, Campus Pride, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and other members of the LGBT Sports Coalition who are there to help you.
You can find us on Twitter or via email - and know that all communication with Outsports is completely confidential until you're ready for it to not be:
- Outsports: email@example.com
- Jim Buzinski: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cyd Zeigler: email@example.com
Together, we'll change someone's world.