High school track & field and cross-country runner Andrew Schweitzer took the leap late last week and came out as gay on social media. It was the culmination of years of internal torment, and it has finally set him free.
Schweitzer told Outsports that "the reaction has been overwhelming in the best way possible. It's been nothing but positivity and it's really cool to get all the support from everyone. This was probably the best decision I've ever made."
He lives in the town of Sammamish, about a half hour east of Seattle.
Here's the coming-out tweet that changed his world:
If someone had told me a year ago today that I would be doing what I'm doing right now, I wouldn't have believed you for even a second. I've been given more than enough opportunities to be real about who I am, but time and time again fear said otherwise. I've decided that it's time to step out of my comfort zone and find the courage to say something that I should've said a long time ago; with that being said, I am gay. I can't even begin to explain how much time I spent hoping to change this. I had become accustomed to absolutely hating a permanent quality about myself, something I don't have a say in. I humbly admit that I do have genuinely great qualities, and I truly do recognize my value in other aspects, but none of that meant anything as long as I continued holding on to that kind of hatred. What I was never able to realize was that by letting go of the fear I will learn to accept what's an inevitable truth, and ultimately be a happier person. If I had any say at all, I probably wouldn't choose to be gay. Publicly sharing this doesn't necessarily mean I am okay with it all, because that will come with more time, I just couldn't continue lying to myself.
I think the most valuable lesson I've learned through my experience is that people are the way they are for a reason; the cards we are dealt in life make us who we are, and it's about doing the best with the hand you're given. At the end of the day, we are all struggling in our own battles, becoming different people, in the madness of the emotional ride that we all know to be high school. I personally have been given a pretty awesome set of cards, but this was my one obstacle, the one thing holding me back from my full potential.
I guess my biggest hope to get out of this is to make it clear that this should not change the perception you may have already had about me. I'm not the preconceived stereotype you may already have about homosexuality; I'm just your average guy, still the exact same person you all knew in 1st period this morning. I'd rather look back on my high school experience and think "I can't believe I did that" instead of not taking this opportunity to be real. Most importantly, for my parents, Jordan Kurtz, Emily Hoss, and Alejandro, thank you. I cannot express to anyone how vital these five were in supporting me in making this decision. They've allowed me to trust that this is the right thing to do, and for the first time in forever, I'm genuinely comfortable in my own skin, and have never been happier.
One powerful note about Schweitzer's tweet. Just over a year ago, Conner Mertens came out. He inspired and mentored high school baseball player Alejandro Graterol to come out. Graterol mentored Schweitzer. The domino effect is powerful and real.
Schweitzer is looking at several universities, mostly in California, for his big move to college in 2016. Any college would be lucky to get this brave kid. Bravery is, after all, acting in the face of fear.