clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Actor Dan Amboyer’s coming out tells us a lot about the struggles of gay pro athletes

New, 1 comment

This one line speaks volumes about pressures to stay in the closet.

2017 Toronto International Film Festival - 'Brawl In Cell Block 99' Premiere
The caption of this photo just a month ago read “Dan Amboyer and guest.” That’s his husband, Eric P. Berger.
Photo by Jeremy Chan/Getty Images

Entertainment and big-time men’s professional sports are not dissimilar in many ways. The forces that keep gay men in the closet in each of them are nearly identical.

Over the weekend actor Dan Amboyer of ‘Younger’ fame decided he was tired of living life in the closet, announcing his marriage to his husband. In the same breath he talked about being a young actor in Hollywood just trying to make it, and the pressures people put on him to keep his damn mouth shut.

"I had a lot of people who strongly advised me to stay quiet,” Amboyer said of his decision to come out publicly.

We know who “a lot of people” are in Hollywood and in pro sports.

This is possibly the most powerful element keeping LGBT male athletes in pro sports quiet. Whether it’s an agent, a coach, a team executive, a friend, or even an LGBT sports advocate “just looking out for your best interests,” all it takes is one or two people to “advise” them to not come out, and that’s the advice they follow. It’s not worth the “distraction.”

I’ve said for years that the biggest deterrent to more male pro athletes coming out is these confidants, agents and managers who plant seeds of doubt in the minds of people otherwise “ready” to share their true selves with the world. Amboyer’s comments about “people who strongly advised me to stay quiet” reflects that discouraging reality.

By the way, he didn’t say “people who suggested I stay quiet,” these folks are STRONGLY ADVISING actors and athletes to live a lie.

So sad.

Hopefully these agents and others open their eyes and see how very “ready” American sports fans and TV and movie viewers are for gay stars to come out. They are more “ready” than virtually anyone suggests.