There's never a right time… There's never a right place… There's never a right way…

If there are a few things, it's the ability to face your fears, be proud of who you are, and help others in time of need. Those three things can be the hardest challenges that people face every day.

Although it's different for each individual, hiding who I am has become second nature to me. I sometimes forget who I truly am because of the identity that I have always covered myself with. Being the jock, playing collegiate baseball, and being a student athletic trainer are all things that every straight guy is stereotyped for. Well what happens when those stereotypes are placed on a gay man? It's covered, because "that's the way it had to be." For me, I felt obligated to hide it. I felt that I wouldn't be able to play a sport in college if I didn't hide it. I thought that I could never be an athletic trainer if I didn't hide it. All of these "norms" were placed upon me because I chose to accept them. Looking back, I wish I could have accepted who I truly am as a person and not fall for what is "normal".

Times have changed, and they are continuing to change. Knowing what I know now, I wish that I could go back to the days where I had to pretend to be someone that I wasn't. I wish that I could go back and tell myself that your sexual orientation doesn't define who you are as an athlete, student, friend, son, coach, athletic trainer…etc. What defines you is your confidence, your attitude, your work ethic, your ability to communicate…etc. Knowing what I know now, I want to be the person to help others who are or who have been in the same situation I was in.

No straight person has ever had to introduce themselves as identifying themselves as straight. There is no reason why I need to shout it to the world that I am gay. The only reason why I feel the need to let it be known is because I know what it feels like to have two identities. I know the struggle of being a gay athlete and not having any outlet. You feel lost, depressed and helpless. I'm not posting this to receive sympathy or attention. I'm posting this because it's time that I stand up and face my fears, be proud of who I am, and help others in need.

I have been in previous relationships where they have not worked out because of my identity struggles. My whole life I have had to cover up who I am, and that has been something that I have always struggled to face. Being in a relationship that has to be hidden leads to a lot of issues. I can say that my past relationships have truly led me to find myself and understand what it takes for me to be a better man.

This past semester has been a roller coaster and I felt that this is the time to let it all out. I have been very distracted with many issues, and hiding who I am should not be one of them. I hope that one day I can be there for someone who faces the same struggles I faced.

Nothing about me will ever change. I am still the same Cody that everyone (maybe not everyone) knows. I still love sports, I still workout, I still do "bro" things. The only thing that has changed is me finally being able to show who I truly am as a person. I believe that throughout my "coming out" phase, it has made me a stronger individual.

Just remember… face your fears, be proud of who you are, and help others in time of need.

You can find Cody Derby on Facebook or on Twitter @CDerby4.

Read more Kansas State sports news at Bring On The Cats.