Football kicker Conner Mertens comes out
A place kicker at Willamette University in Oregon, Mertens came out as bisexual to his team. He now comes out publicly in hopes of inspiring other LGBT athletes to come out and be true to themselves.
Alejandro Graterol has wrestled with his sexual orientation for a while. He has known he's gay yet never knew how to handle it, whom he could tell. The second baseman and shortstop for the Skyline High School baseball team, about 20 miles east of Seattle, Wash., needed a confidant to build his confidence.
When Willamette Univ. kicker Conner Mertens came out publicly earlier this year, Graterol finally had someone to confide in, to ask questions. Mertens helped Graterol come to the place where he could rip off the band-aid and come out to everyone - friends, family, teammates, the world - all at the same time.
"With winter break coming up I have a couple weeks where I won't have to see anyone from my school for a bit, so it's the perfect time," Graterol told Outsports shortly after his liberating tweet. "We all get a break from everyone, so hopefully when I get back to school it will have died down a bit."
With that in mind he decided today was the day he would post this:
After struggling long with my thoughts, and weighing out the pros and cons, I have finally decided to share this publicly with everyone. I have realized that for me to be happy, I can't keep worrying about hiding this part of me. With that being said I just want to come out on my own terms, and say that I am gay.
The fear of people finding this out about me took over my life, and made me become someone who I wasn't. But what was worse was that I lost hope. I lost hope that I would have friends, lost hope that I would have a normal life, lost hope that I would be able to be who I really was. I was afraid of being treated differently, but now I realize that the people who really care about me would never treat me differently.
All our lives society has taught us to conform, but even though we all do it, conformity is a pretty fucked up thing. In recent months, I've learned that genuine and authentic people are truly the best kind of people in this world.
No this does not change who I am, and yes I am still the exact same person that you all knew before this. The only difference now is that I am finally comfortable with sharing a part of me that I never could before.
I know that some people have strong opinions and stereotypes about homosexuality. And I get that for some of you, your view of me is going to change after this, but I just hope that I can be the one to change your mind about homosexuality. Let me be the one to say, it is no choice. If I had the choice, this is not what I would have chosen. But trying to change what you cannot is a hopeless battle, so I have decided to embrace it.
Words do not express the gratitude that I have to the people who already know this about me. I can truly say that I have become closer with each person that I have told. And I would also like to specifically thank Conner Mertens for helping me through all of this, and for showing me that everything can stay the same after coming out. If you don't know him look him up, because he is one of the most genuine and selfless people that I have had the pleasure of coming across in my life.
Anyways, I know this may come as a surprise to some people, and maybe not to others, but all in all I just could not keep hiding behind a face that wasn't mine. I just hope that everyone can give me a chance to prove that I am the same person, not just a stereotype, and that sexuality does not change who a person really is.
If you want to know more go ahead and tweet me or shoot me a text and I'll tell ya anything.
Immediately, Graterol's friends and family tweeted and retweeted, sending him messages of support. Until today, only one of his baseball teammates knew his secret. Now that it's not a secret, they all know.
"It's been really great. Just a lot more support than I expected. My teammates have told me it doesn't change anything. They still love me and they can't wait until the season."