Homophobes are cowards. Plain and simple.

After years of failing to vilify gay people for whom they love, they are now trying to demean these people and diminish the importance of their stories by saying they are stereotypically gay.

The tactic is to insult and demean gay people when they come out by saying they already knew they were gay. The underlying message is that these gay people fit stereotypes so badly that they didn’t actually have to “come out.” It’s the latest incarnation of the nonsensical argument that “I didn’t come out as straight, so keep your mouth shut, gay dude.”

Better put: “You are soooooooooooo gay, you are unworthy.”

This year the mean-spirited tactic is on the rise, targeting both men and women in sports. We at Outsports have seen this line of thinking creep into many videos and coming-out stories we post on social media.

Just a sampling from commenters on the video of a gay American professional baseball player in Australia:

“Am I like the only person who can tell if someone's gay without them having to make a dramatic scene of coming out?” Asked one commenter.

“Omg! I just look at him a second, I knew he's gay…. these teammates must know too!!!!! so obvious!“ Claimed another.

And another… “its totally obvious like come on now. how these two guys can't see it totally surprises me.“

And another… “I could tell as soon as he opened his mouth and started talking lol Nothing wrong with that but it was kinda obvious XD.”

And more have piled on other Outsports videos, like this one… “Oh gurl. You didn’t need to come out. I’m sure they knew.”

It’s all the latest attempt by homophobes — even some LGBTQ people who play on stereotypes — to diminish the power of people coming out in their own lives. Their (sometimes subconscious) hope is that by linking LGBTQ people to stereotypes they will discourage other people from coming out. They will sew seeds of doubt about the gay person having lived life not-so-secretly for so many years.

Make no mistake: This is veiled homophobia. The goal is to demean gay people and diminish the power of their coming-out stories. The goal is to scare people — mostly gay men and lesbians — with claims that they fit into stereotypes so perfectly that they will view themselves as inferior.

We at Outsports won’t buy into any of this nonsense.

Every single coming-out story, and the sharing of experiences after coming out, helps countless LGBTQ people overcome their own fear in their lives. We embrace all LGBTQ people who fit stereotypes as much as those who defy them. Some of the people in our lives who fit stereotypes the best are our best friends.

We have always fought back against people who claim that one of Outsports’ missions is to undermine stereotypes. That is not true. Both Jim Buzinski and I fit into some “gay stereotypes,” and we defy others. We love everyone in the LGBTQ community, and we want to provide a space where they feel they can be their true selves.

If you come out and someone tells you “I already knew,” try to brush it off and move on. It makes you no less of a person, and you are always welcome at Outsports.