“I’m an out and proud gay man.”
That is how Kade McCall addressed his sexuality in his Powercat profile. The star Kansas State hammer thrower has been open about his identity ever since stepping onto campus, and didn’t want to act differently in the video.
It’s the best thing he’s ever done for himself.
“I was a lot more stressed in high school, always feeling like I was going to be outed or something if I did something wrong,” McCall told Outsports. “It’s a lot better now in college. I think the throwing community fully well knows that I’m gay.”
McCall, 20, is one of the best throwers in the conference, and he’s only a rising junior. The Idaho native, who holds the state’s hammer throw record and regional record in the Junior Olympics, placed second at the Big 12 Championships this year.
Earlier this summer, McCall placed 13th at the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Every throw was a personal best.
Not too shabby for one of the youngest athletes competing.
Now that he’s out, McCall says he can enter competitions in a positive mental space.
“In competition, I can go in a lot more clear-headed and not stressed,” he said. “It mentally helped my competition stress.”
McCall’s coming out journey wasn't seamless. It began when he was outed as a junior in high school, before he was ready to let his parents know about his sexuality.
To make matters worse, one of McCall’s then-friends was responsible.
“[My parents] accept me now, but it was hard for them in the beginning,” said McCall.
McCall put on a front through most of high school, which wasn’t too difficult, considering his size. Not many people want to mess with a 6-foot, 220-pound football lineman and wrestler.
“I don’t look like a very approachable person. I just don’t smile a whole lot, per se,” joked McCall.
On the positive side, McCall remarks that his serious demeanor can make for some good competition photos.
Though McCall publicly kept it together in high school, his angst around coming out was becoming increasingly unbearable. When he was looking at colleges, Kansas State jumped out at him, because of its strong reputation as an LGBTQ-friendly campus. That support carries over to the athletic department.
Offensive lineman Scott Frantz was publicly out for three years while playing football for the Wildcats. He said his time as an out gay man at K-State was nothing but positive.
McCall has enjoyed a similar experience. On the first night of freshman year, he told his roommates they needed to get one thing straight: he wasn’t.
Nobody has been confused since.
“The team is pretty good. They all accept me,” said McCall.
McCall’s understated tone is a reflection of his confidence. When people ask him whether he’s gay, he says “yes,” and then moves on.
Maybe it’s the piercings. McCall has 10 of them, so he’s used to standing out.
To him, that’s no longer a scary prospect.