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Out swimmer's story touches a chord

scottz.jpgSt. Bonaventure swimmer Scott Jordan wrote a terrific first-person account of coming out to his team. Scott’s story touched a nerve and he has received loads of responses.

He shared some of the reactions that touched him the most and he plans on writing about them in depth. These responses prove the adage that the most powerful way to affect change for gays and lesbians is to come out and be yourself.

From Scott Jordan:

One of the most amazing things was an e-mail I got from a 16-year-old kid. He told me he tried to kill himself last month, and my article gave him hope. He used to swim and what not. It was pretty moving, and humbling to me at the same time.

I was in disbelief that so many people read the article, and so many were inspired by it. I wasn't expecting that kind of response at all; I just tried to write the most honest description of my experience I could.

At first it made me feel like I was the most popular person in the world, and it kind of went to my head. It was really the e-mails that kind of brought me back down and made realize my original purpose for writing the article; which was to give hope and inspiration to anyone that needed it. That’s why the e-mail from the 16-year-old who tried to commit suicide really hit me hard.

I've also been in touch with a gay Vietnam vet who e-mailed me that "I was more worried about being found out than I was shot." Also, I have been in contact with a monk who was in a monastery for 30 years, left the monastery and came out (the monk is a big fan of Outsports).

A lot of athletes have contacted me asking for advice. I'd like to think that I'm not one to give advice just because I wrote an article, but one e-mail comes to mind: One told me after he came out to his team, a teammate asked his coach to make him shower somewhere else, and he asked me what I would do. I laughed when he asked me that, and replied with something like, "I would go up to that teammate and tell him not to think so highly of himself that you'd even WANT check him out. Tell him not to flatter himself."

I had one kid ask me on Myspace if I was "the NCAA swimmer;" when I told him yes he replied, "Wow, this is so cool, you're like my idol." Things like that made me feel real good.

I've been contacted by a few kids who would tell me a story about themselves, and then ask me if I thought they were gay or not. I'm a bit hesitant to answer a question like that, and would just tell them to not worry about labeling themselves as gay, straight, or bisexual; especially when it's all so confusing at their age.

I've been contacted by an old teacher of mine about speaking at a high school in Boston, which I plan to do later this month. I'm pretty nervous to do it, but I think it's something that would be helpful to any kids at that school who are going through rough times. It would certainly have been amazing for me at that age.

I mentioned in the article I was trying to qualify for Olympic Trials, and a lot of people have confused that with me having a chance at making the Olympic team, which isn't the case. There was a blurb in “The Advocate" about my article, and in it they said I was trying for the Olympics! I was like, "Wow, I didn't know I was that good!"