When I applied to work for Outsports, I wrote in my cover letter that I’ve always known two things about myself: I’m gay, and love writing about sports.
More than three years later, I can say it’s been a privilege linking together my identity and professional passion. And yes, I mean my identity.
As you might be able to tell, this is my last day at Outsports. I’m moving onto a full-time role at Queerty, and will be writing about gay athletes and celebrities every day.
It’s a future I never could’ve imagined three years ago. I’ve become a better journalist working alongside our co-founders Cyd Zeigler and Jim Buzinski, and all-star cast of contributors. They are some of the most passionate writers I have ever met.
But more importantly, I’ve better learned who I am as a gay man. I express my sexuality in ways that I never could’ve imagined a few years ago.
I mean, I’m dying my hair silver for the summer. Need I say more?
As deputy managing editor, I met hundreds of interesting and diverse people from all walks of life; and luckily, was able to tell their stories. But when I look back at my time here, there isn’t a particular article that stands out. (They were all great. I can’t just choose one!)
Instead, I will remember discovering a gay community in sports that I didn’t know existed. For much of my life, I thought the idea of being a sports fan and gay man were incongruous. They were two parts of me that didn’t mix.
I watched the Patriots on Sunday and Red Sox during the week. There wasn’t time to worship pop divas, never mind familiarize myself with the Housewives. (I still don’t know any of them, besides Jen Shah, who’s currently incarcerated with Elizabeth Holmes. But that’s beside the point.)
But then I met somebody like UCLA volleyball coach Alfie Reft, who discovered his love for volleyball playing the sport at a West Hollywood gym with an eclectic group of gays. Or college track and field standout Kamal-Craig Golaube, who unapologetically expresses his femininity.
The list of inspiring people goes on and on.
You’ll notice I didn’t list a couple of pro athletes, no offense to them. There wouldn’t be the level of inclusion today without people like Jason Collins and Carl Nassib, never mind the trailblazers who came before them.
But when it comes to changing the sports landscape, the grunt work is being done below: minor leagues, college programs, high schools, recreational sports. That’s where the culture changes, and it has.
In a 2021 study, we found that 95% of athletes surveyed said their teammates’ responses to them coming out were overall “neutral” to “perfect.” Those are the experiences of everyday people.
That’s not to say there aren’t many challenges ahead. There are transgender sports bans in at least 20 states, with legislative assaults on trans people taking place across the country.
Pride Month is also now a war, with some conservatives threatening to boycott seemingly any brand that partners with LGBTQ people.
Unfortunately, sports haven’t been averse to the hateful trend. In fact, mainstream pushback against Pride celebrations was reenergized last year on the baseball diamond, when five Tampa Bay Rays players refused to wear jerseys with rainbow patches.
We’ve only seen the backlash grow this year. Each story about a pro athlete condemning Pride Night festivities is another reason why Outsports needs to exist.
We exist to tell the courageous tales of LGBTQ athletes and people in sports. The best antidote to ignorance is visibility.
I know I’ve certainly learned a lot. I can’t wait to keep reading every day.
If you want to stay in touch, the best way is Twitter (until Elon Musk totally destroys it). You can find me at @AlexReimer1.