Justin Rogers is the rare out gay man in the NHL, coming out as a trainer for the Seattle Kraken. | Abbie Parr/NHLI via Getty Images

Justin Rogers, a trainer for the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, has shared his story publicly of being a gay man in sports.

Rogers wrote a letter to his younger self that has been picked up widely by the media. ESPN said Rogers is “believed to be the first openly gay support staff member on an NHL bench.”

While that may be a mouthful, Rogers sharing his story as a gay man in hockey is important given how few out LGBTQ people are in men’s hockey.

Truth is, Rogers has been “out” for a while. He first came to an Outsports Pride event in 2016, when he was working at Penn State, and again joined us at New York City Pride in 2018, posting this photo on Instagram five years ago:

Since then, Rogers has not been shy on Instagram about being an out gay man in sports.

His letter to his younger self reflected Outsports’ motto that “Courage is contagious,” the ability of LGBTQ people, just by being publicly out and doing their jobs, to inspire others to do the same.

“Justin, you will live authentically and in doing so you will change and even save lives. I promise you any struggles or moments of doubt you ever have will be worth it because of each story that you hear and impact you have. Keep being you, keep building your community, and keep showing the love to others the way you have received it from so many before you.”

Outsports is thrilled for Rogers, and we know he will have a positive impact for years to come.

You can follow Justin Rogers on Instagram. And you can read his full letter-to-his-younger-self here.

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