Being Out is a feature that looks at LGBTQ people in sports who have come out since Outsports first published in 1999. Today: Football player Jack Storrs.
It was a small decal, rainbow-colored, that adorned the back of the helmets of the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens college football team in Southern California in 2019.
Unless you were focused on them, they might have been easy to miss, but for senior linebacker Jack Storrs, the decision by his teammates to wear the Pride decals in support of LGBTQ athletes at the school made them stand out like the brightest neon sign.
“This is why wearing the Pride stickers meant so much,” Storrs wrote in his coming out story a year ago. “It’s not uncommon to have different races or religions on one team, yet it’s not every day that you have a bisexual teammate, especially in football. We initially wore the stickers for our game on Oct. 12 and have kept them on our helmets since.
“It showed me that there was no limit to the acceptance and support from my teammates. Not only that, but it was a united and public display of such support for every athlete in the LGBTQ community and I can’t thank my teammates enough for it.
“To that end, coming out has really helped me perform both on and off the field. It has taken the biggest weight of my life off my shoulders and allowed me focus on what makes me happy.”
Storrs’ story showed the power that coming out can have not only on an athlete but on his teammates and a campus.
He graduated last year and left his playing days behind him and has started life in Washington, D.C., where he works as an analyst for Goldman Sachs. The last line of his email to me was to tell readers, “MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!”
Here are his answers to our Being Out questions.
What do you love the most about football?
I loved the competition and camaraderie of football. I love pushing myself and those around me, but when you have people next to you that will do the same and you consider them family, it can’t get any better.
What does it personally mean to you to be LGBTQ+ in sports?
To be LGBTQ+ in sports means that you’re a leader. It means you’re not afraid of what other might think of you. It means you’re making a difference in other people’s lives. It also means that you probably have an incredible group of people around you who have been with you every step of the way (as was my case).
What advice would you give to LGBTQ+ kids in athletics or who want to participate in athletics, the kind of advice the younger you wish you had heard?
Own it and don’t let anyone’s perception of your identity get in the way of the goals you want to accomplish or the person you want to be. You know how to deal with adversity better than anyone else which will definitely help in any sport. Be a hero to a younger generation.
Who is someone that inspires you? Why?
Dak Prescott of the Cowboys and Hayden Hurst of the Falcons.
Both of them have been closely touched by suicide: Dak lost his brother to suicide and Hayden shared that he had almost died from suicide. Each have been very vocal about an extremely heavy and sensitive subject; a subject that has gone through most minds of people in the LGBTQ+ community, myself included. For them to use their platforms and foundations to advance the narrative on suicide means so much to me. Get better soon, Dak! [Prescott is out for the season with an injury].
What are you passionate about right now?
First off, I am very excited about my relationship with my boyfriend, Luke, who took the picture of me and my dog.
Also, I’m trying to find a new hobby to get into because nothing has got me as excited as football used to. I’m looking into boxing and jiu-jitsu clubs around my area, but I’m open to any recommendations from former athletes.
What is your most memorable sports moment?
There are so many, but the two that probably mean the most to me are our victories over Claremont Mudd Scripps [Pitzer’s biggest rival] in 2017 and 2018.
In 2017, we won in overtime on a crazy Hail Mary touchdown and then a two-point conversion, which made SportsCenter. In 2018, I was unable to play due to a broken back, but two of my best friends and godparents surprised me the day before the game traveling across the country to come watch. That game also came down to the wire and they got to witness something special! Roll Hens, baby.
Jack Storrs, 23, lives outside Washington, D.C., and works for Goldman Sachs as an Investment Banking Analyst. He can be reached on Instagram @j_storrs.
If you are out in sports in any capacity as openly LGBTQ and want to be featured in Being Out, drop Jim an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you’re an LGBTQ person in sports looking to connect with others in the community, head over to GO! Space to meet and interact with other LGBTQ athletes, or to Equality Coaching Alliance to find other coaches, administrators and other non-athletes in sports.