At the start of 2017 a couple people told me that the election of Donald Trump would put a chill on LGBTQ athletes, coaches and other people in sports coming out publicly. Fewer people would come out because of what they deemed an anti-gay presidency.
Instead the opposite happened: More people came out in sports in 2017 than any other year.
That held true in football, where a half-dozen current college football players — from NAIA to FBS Division I — came out to their teams and publicly. Another, Jake Bain of Missouri, is headed to Indiana State to play football next fall.
All but one of them plays football in a state that voted for Donald Trump. Yet all of them report widespread acceptance from their teams and coaches.
Others in high school, like Austin Hodges in Trump country outside of Houston, said they were also welcomed by their teams. Hodges even performed in make-up with his school’s drill team at halftime of games.
Of course this is not 100% ironclad universal. Some kids are still kicked out of their homes or being LGBTQ. It’s no longer the rule, it’s the exception. Yet that it happens at all continues to build fear in many.
Still, these courageous men and women who come out in any sport show the true heart of sports and of America: ready to support gay people when they come out.
Current LGBTQ people in football who came out publicly in 2017:
Jake Bain, high school football player headed to college football, Missouri / Indiana
Dylan Baker, high school football player, Washington
Xavier Colvin, college football player, Indiana (Butler Univ.)
Scott Frantz, college football player, Kansas State Univ.
Chris Hashemzadeh, high school football coach, Maryland
Austin Hodges, high school football player, Texas
My-King Johnson, high school and college football player, Arizona
Kyle Kurdziolek, football player, Illinois (Univ. of St. Francis)
Darrion McAlister, college football player, Indiana (Marian Univ.)
Wyatt Pertuset, college football player, Ohio (Capital Univ.)
Katie Sowers, NFL assistant coach, California (San Francisco 49ers)
Britney Stinson, semipro football player, Florida (Orlando Anarchy)
Dominic Taverna, football referee, New York