Bryant University assistant men's basketball coach came out publicly last week after years of struggling to find the strength to do so. After years of keeping his personal life completely quiet, he has now found the strength to be his true self.
When I asked Burns today if he had received any negative reactions to his coming out, he texted me two words: "Not one."
This morning he shared an incredible post on Facebook that reflects the incredible relief he feels after coming out publicly, and his hope of having an even more powerful impact going forward for those people still struggling:
I've spent a better part of my adult life living in fear of people finding out my 'secret.' I thought I wouldn't be accepted, that I might have to walk away from the sport I've loved all my life. The response I've received this week, though, has eliminated that fear. I am so grateful to every person that has reached out, shown support, and told me their story. In reading and responding to the overwhelming number of text messages, emails, Facebook posts/messages and phone calls, I have learned what it means to feel true purpose. That my story can reach and touch the lives of even a few people means the world to me. I'll remember the love I felt this week forever. It has filled me with optimism as I move forward with a fuller, more authentic life.
These are all similar thoughts to what we have heard over and over from so many LGBT athletes and coaches: Once they come out, their fears are put to rest.