When Jaimi Salone decided to come out publicly on the website for Stanford athletics, they opened with an incredible salvo:
IN COMPETITION, I don’t come out to people. They see ‘Jaimi Salone’ on the flight sheet for the discus and that’s all I can expect them to know. If I have to explain my pronouns to every track and field official … there are just too many variables to people’s responses, and I can’t let that distract me.
So, I keep it inside.
But outside competition, I never stop coming out. It’s an every day, every hour process. It can be a one-time thing when I introduce myself, or it can be exhausting, constantly correcting classmates, professors or family. It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting. But my pronouns are important. It’s worth it to be addressed in a way that expresses respect and acknowledgement.
Salone’s column, talking about being genderqueer in sports and in life, is a powerful testament to the journey of LGBTQ athletes.
A Minnesota state champion in high school, Salone finished 13th in the Pac-12 championships their freshman year and 10th their sophomore year. If they continue to perform at this level, a top-five finish at the Pac-12 championships as a junior or senior is within reach.
Instead of copying and pasting various passages of their insightful story, we encourage you to visit Stanford’s website and read Salone’s story for yourself. It’s powerfully written and brutally honest.
However, we cannot leave you without sharing this. If nothing else does, we hope their intersectional identity drives you to read their powerful story.
I’m Black, I’m bisexual, I’m trans, I’m genderqueer, I’m low income, I’m neurodivergent, I’m able-bodied, and I’m a survivor.