In the video, Manta sits next to her girlfriend, Aleena, who plays guitar with an HRC sticker on the case. Manta reads the love letter mixed in with Aleena singing.
“I’ve been with you for a whole year and I wanted to say thank you,” she starts. “Mostly thank you for being here even though I’ve made your love my shadow.”
Manta’s message of thanks and patience is one with which many people in same-sex relationships can identify, particularly those whose partners are gay, bi or queer professional or elite-level athletes, given how so few of them are publicly out.
“Thank you for waiting through every conversation that I’ve referred to you as my best friend, not because you’re not my best friend, but because I’ve had to swallow the words ‘my love my love my love’ each time instead.”
She goes on to call the closet a prison cell, a lifelong panic attack and like being buried alive.
Watch the whole video and bring some tissues:
Manta told Outsports the response to her public coming out has been positive.
“I’m really grateful for all the people who have reached out in support,” Manta said. “It’s been a little overwhelming. I’m adjusting to having more attention directed toward something I’ve kept fairly private for some time.”
She had previously dipped her toe out of the closet, posting this Instagram photo from Pride earlier this year yet not publicly self-identifying as LGBTQ:
View this post on Instagram
Happy Pride Everyone ...if you are still searching for a word that seems to match you; if all you know in your heart is that straight or cis doesn't seem to wear right on your body ...if you feel like you don't look queer enough ...if you are someone who gets stares for looking "too queer" ....if you have ever let go of a hand you were clutching in public because it was safer ...if you have ever kept holding that hand, even though it didn't feel safe ...if the only person you are out to is yourself ...if everyone knows your identity ...if you are reconciling a religion and a love that feel like they cannot reconcile one another ...if you chose to pray for kindness and inclusion and diversity ...if anyone has ever told you it was for attention ...if anyone has ever refused to believe you when you spoke your world to truth after hiding it for years ...if you are forced to check male or female in boxes everyday knowing full well neither of those words are about you ...if one of those words is about you, but everyone seems to assign you the wrong one ...if you are a kid, and you feel like this is too much weight to carry while you're young ...if you are an adult, and you feel like it is too late to claim a new version of yourself ...if you do not know how to feel proud of who you are yet. Happy Pride. This is especially for you. #pride
On the ice, Manta is the partner of skater Joseph Johnson. The duo finished ninth at this year’s United States National Championships.