Coming out as gay was an impulsive decision and not easy for someone raised in a small town in Nebraska who went to a Catholic school.
It was August 2019 and I first told three of my closest friends, and then I ended up telling my coach and the rest of the men’s golf team at the University of Missouri-St. Louis the next day.
I knew coming out to the team wouldn’t be too bad. I never really got any bad reactions from anyone; everyone was super supportive of me and I quickly learned who I could trust.
Next up were my parents. They were coming to watch me play in a golf tournament in St. Louis, and they were renting a room at my apartment complex for that weekend. I went over to their room to officially come out to them.
I read them the letter that I had prepared for them. There was a great deal of emotion, and it is hard to even explain what it felt like to get everything off my chest. But it definitely was very emotional, and I was thrilled with their reaction.
They hugged me, cried with me and told me they want me to live a happy and healthy life. This was the only response that I wanted, so it was a huge relief to know that I can still continue to rely on them.
My parents are very traditional Catholics and I don’t think they really knew how to react at first. It has taken time, but I have a great relationship with them, and they have been a great support. My siblings also made a huge impact in my life and have been there for me every step of the way.
I grew up outside of a small town in Nebraska and went to a K-12 Catholic school. It was in first grade when I realized I was different than the other guys in my class and it was a couple of years after that when I finally came to the conclusion that I am gay.
I am proud of where I come from, but it was definitely not the easiest place for a gay child to be able to feel safe to come out, so I decided to hide it as well as I could for as long as I could. I even dated girls and would even laugh at and make homophobic jokes to fit in and seem “normal.”
The fact that society pushes gay children to hate themselves so much that they would use a slur against their own community is disgusting. Society is killing our children. I sincerely apologize for using those words. For so long, I blamed myself for my past, but then I realized that I cannot change the past, but instead learn from it.
For a couple of years prior to coming out, I really struggled with depression and anxiety. I feared that I would lose everything by coming out.
Being a gay athlete, but especially a gay golfer definitely was a struggle as well. Unfortunately for athletes, it is especially difficult for people to feel comfortable coming out. Growing up, I never knew of any other gay athletes and even now, I don’t know of any gay PGA Tour golfers.
I always felt a sense of feeling alone within the golf and athletic world. I think there definitely are gay athletes who might not get out of the closet until their sports career is over, which is heartbreaking to me. But I also understand. I never thought I would get out of the closet, so I would never try to rush anyone. If you are in the closet and don’t feel safe coming out yet, then take all the time you need. That is perfectly OK.
I also want to speak up for anyone who might be LGBTQ+ and struggles with trauma from any religious background. I am a gay Christian man and I can say that way more people in the LGBTQ+ community are religious and spiritual than one might think.
As I am finishing up my senior year, I am working on myself and trying to find out the ways in which I can be happy, healthy and follow God’s path for me. With that, I have decided to not leave my heart closed to love, as I believe that true love is one of the most beautiful ways that a human can know God. I believe that everyone is worthy of that love.
It has been just over a year since I came out, and I am finally learning to truly live my life as me. I have learned that through opening up and being my 100% authentic self, that my relationships with all of my friends and family have grown stronger and there is no hiding anymore. Although there still are and probably always will be people who don’t accept me, I have learned that not everyone is going to like me, and that is OK.
The reason I am speaking up about my story is because I want to inspire children, teens, and adults all across the country to know that they are perfect just as they are. And there is no need to conform to others’ expectations when you can be exactly who God made you to be.
Trevor Kosch, 22, will be graduating from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in May of 2021. He is on the UMSL Men’s Golf Team and is majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Supply Chain Management. He can be reached by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Twitter or Instagram.
Story editor: Jim Buzinski
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