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How gay coach Anthony Nicodemo used Outsports to find a family

When he was in the closet, Anthony Nicodemo used Outsports as a resource for information and inspiration. Ultimately he found acceptance and a family. Today he is helping other people in the closet find strength.

As a closeted coach so many times I searched for a place to turn. At the time, chat rooms were common and I often would take part in conversations with other gay males involved in athletics. At some point someone turned me on to Outsports.

I remember being amazed as I read so many great stories of gay men being involved in athletics. Who knew that so many gay guys were involved in sports? In many ways it was very liberating. I found myself engrossed in the content and dreamt that someday I would be able to live a more open and authentic life.

Over time Outsports helped me become more brave. I remember Cyd and Jim chatting about a closeted basketball player blog on one of their podcasts. It inspired me to do the same and I founded an anonymous blog, "Coaching from the Closet." For around a year I posted and communicated with others. It was kind of like an early coming out, without anyone knowing who I was.

As I became more comfortable I would share articles with my boyfriend at the time. We would read and discuss the different features and converse about coming out ourselves. Eventually I reached out to Cyd. I shared my story and concerns about coming out through an email address that I had created just for that purpose. I became braver and started to reach out to athletes as well.

Outsports one day ran a feature about a Facebook group, Equality Coaching Alliance. The group was created by Roger Brigham and served as online community that supported coaches in he LGBT community. Joining the the ECA and communicating with Cyd allowed me to receive an invite to the LGBT Sports Summit in Portland, Ore. The trip changed my life.

A week later I came out as gay to my team and pretty much anyone who knew me. I proudly posted the link to the article on Facebook and Twitter asking, "who won the bet?"

After reading countless coming out stories and being inspired, I was suddenly part of the club. Very quickly closeted coaches and athletes began reaching out to me, the way I had done to others. I responded with the same respect and concern that the out folks had shown me.

Outsports has served as an outlet for so many and in some ways has created a brotherhood. Those who have shared their stories not only work to change culture, but hangout, travel together and become lifelong friends. I couldn't imagine where I would be had Outsports not been founded 15 years ago.

You can find Anthony Nicodemo on Twitter @SaundersHoops.