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Coming Out Stories

Outsports' list of coming out stories from LGBT people in sports.

Trans long-distance runner finds freedom as she lives her life fearlessly

Lauren Harrigian spent years struggling with her transition, but she can now say she is ‘both a competitive marathon runner and also an amazing trans woman.’

He’s gay, a Coast Guard officer and a rower with Olympic dreams

John Olbrys discovered his sports passion on the water and his career in the Coast Guard, and after coming out has found it progressively easier to be himself.

College volleyball player finds his Christian faith strengthen after coming out

Unique Smith found a home and support on his college volleyball team by being himself.

College basketball player comes out and feels a sense of liberation and pride

When SMU’s Bri Tollie tore her ACL, she never thought it would be a catalyst to come out as a bisexual athlete.

Harvard lacrosse player to teammates: ‘Guys, I’m gay’

The sport has often been a hostile space for LGBTQ players, but when Noah Knopf came out, he felt liberated and says it’s been ‘sunshine, rainbows and lacrosse’ ever since.

Track athlete’s best friend came out to him. They’re now boyfriends

Joe Hamilton struggled with his sexuality, but has found acceptance on his college cross-country and track teams.

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This athlete has navigated being queer and Black in football, the Army and the DC police department

Wilthalrio Coachman has found himself through semi-pro football, and as a police officer with a career in the military.

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This gay athlete came out to his high school at an awards banquet in the South

Justin Balthazor waited until he had proven himself with points and rebounds to share his true self with everyone in his basketball world.

Queer drag performer finds sports a perfect outlet for bonding with peers

‘I’ve realized that marrying my love of drag performance with a passion for sports is likely my truest form,’ Shanda Leer says.

From alienation to acceptance, a gay fan’s soccer journey

Luke Klipp embraced a new MLS team until the homophobic chanting started. The aftermath restored his faith in his fellow fans.

He avoided slapshots on the ice and was an umpire at Wimbledon. Coming out as gay was more difficult

Bryan Hicks had a successful career as an umpire in tennis and referee in hockey. But keeping his sexuality a secret eventually became too much.

Gay college swimmer forged his path in rural South Dakota

Josh Sorbe was the homecoming king and student body president at the University of South Dakota where he was able to reach his potential as an openly gay student-athlete.

Triathlons kept gay athlete sane during his coming out

‘Swimming, biking, running and lifting took away the anxiety caused by being in the closet,’ says Matthew Helmerichs.

For gay college producer, hockey was a way to be one of the guys

Richard Coffey battled isolation and his sexual identity by embracing hockey, but he now realizes he had to be honest with himself to be truly happy.

Once a college club gymnast, gay coach stresses being inclusive as CrossFit trainer

JR Jaquay remembers the isolation as boy growing up in Texas and feeling different. That led him to stressing inclusiveness in his coaching and training.

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For trans college equestrian rider, barn was his safe space

‘Horses don’t understand concepts such as sexual orientation, or gender identity,’ says college equestrian rider Jay Robinson. ‘The only thing that a horse really cares about is how the person in the tack makes them feel.’

Pro hockey announcer thrives as out gay man doing what he loves

Jonathan Kliment decided to be himself as he pursues his dream of broadcasting one day in the NHL.

For O’Shay Edwards, pro wrestling gave him the freedom to come out

The Big Bad Kaiju long struggled with his sexual identity but has found love, acceptance and liberation since unveiling his truth in and out of the ring.

When a gay college hockey player punched a teammate who called him a slur, it led to him coming out

Stephen Finkel used a teammate’s gay slur as a catalyst to come out, including support from four NHL players.

Openly gay and thriving at The World’s Most Famous Arena

Joshua Lindsey never dreamed he’d go from Kentucky to New York’s Madison Square Garden, but seeing another out person in sports management changed his life.

For out Olympic bobsledder Chris Kinney, his journey of acceptance took 30 years

Chris Kinney never fit in a neat box as a multiracial man who is attracted to both men and women. After enduring horrific bullying while living in Japan, he came back to the U.S. and found a new sport and a new confidence in being himself.

When staffer came out to his CBS Sports family, he found nothing but support

Seeking to inspire those closeted in the sports industry, Theo Rabinowitz tells of his experience coming out to his CBS Sports co-workers in 2015 and the acceptance he’s found since.

How a gay soccer player was hired as first out teacher at a Christian Science school

Ross Furbush was able to be his authentic self with the help of his mentor, whose acceptance of LGBTQ people mirrored that of his church.

For gay hockey player and referee, ‘on the ice was where I felt free’

Gordie Mitchard wrestled with the hyper-masculinity of hockey but learned to broaden the definition with the help of a popular gay fellow referee.

A gay college tennis captain is liberated after coming out to his team

Any fears Mitchell Thomas had about coming out melted away when he was embraced by his teammates.

For gay runner, trusting a coach with her secret started coming out process

When Caitlin McQuilkin-Bell decided to open up to a trusted University of Florida coach about her girlfriend, it gave her the strength to come out.

‘I’m gay’: College hockey player came out to two teams with a simple statement

Adam Fyrer has been able to be his authentic self and also play a sport he loves by being honest as he gained self-confidence in his identity.

For gay triathlete, sport helped him get sober and saved his life

A chance meeting helped Mark Turnipseed start to turn his life around and embrace who he is.

For gay hockey player, locker room felt like a prison

Benjamin Fredell was playing in an elite youth league, but years of homophobia in the sport and self-hatred led him to quit to find happiness.

Athlete’s goal is to reach the top as an openly gay professional tennis player

Jeremy Sonkin has longed battled racism and homophobia in tennis. But a renewed love of the sport has led him to strive for success in the 35 and over professional circuit.

Confrontation with angry parent showed volleyball coach he made right decision by coming out

Out volleyball player and coach Brett Thompson tells a parent that ‘whom I choose to love has no effect on my abilities to coach.’

Gay athlete found his niche and his husband through rowing

Erik Limpitlaw had great success in rowing even as he struggled with his sexuality. Years later, he is happy and fulfilled.

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