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Coming Out Stories

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

Gay volleyball player’s self-acceptance led to deeper bond with college teammates

‘I wish I had come out sooner.... but I also realize that my story happened this way for a reason,’ volleyball player and coach Shaughn McDonald says.

Gay college diver finds friends, support and sense of family with new team

‘After coming out to my teammates at St. Bonaventure, along with friends and family, the sense of relief is unfathomable,’ say diver Austin Campbell.

A torn ACL inspired gay college soccer player to love and accept himself

In recovering from a major injury, Andrew Bucur reflected on his need to confront being gay, with inspiration from Robbie Rogers.

Indiana University swimmer finds peace and a purpose after coming out

Thomas Vanderbrook struggled for years with his sexuality and felt like he was drowning. Opening up to those around him showed him a new path.

Gay gymnast finds new sports passion as a college cheerleader at UConn

Ben Duncan learned the value of discipline and perseverance as a gymnast growing up and found a community as a UConn cheerleader.

Harley-riding, nail-painting pansexual lacrosse referee finally finds his niche

Lacrosse referee Kyle Kennery battled addiction and self-doubt in his unconventional journey of acceptance.

Lesbian college tennis coach finds her voice coming out during pandemic

Maria Lopez found strength to share her sexual identity spurred by the demands for racial justice and equality. 

A hug made all the difference to pansexual champion college fencer

Schooled in a stifling Catholic environment, Abram Gregory found an invaluable coping mechanism in fencing.

Why his wedding day was extra special for gay umpire and official

When Bryan Pinto saw his fellow officials celebrate his special day, he realized he was just one of the guys.

Gay MMA coach and a champion wrestler wins toughest battle by coming out

Chris McLeod fought his sexuality for years in an unforgiving sport, but now is determined to help others reach their potential.

Gay pro rugby player inspired to come out by love of his boyfriend

‘I have no doubt that without Fergus I never would have had the resolve to put myself out there in this way,’ writes pro rugby player Devin Ibanez.

Wearing a Pride shirt inspired gay college soccer captain to come out

Couper Gunn gained strength on and off the field after deciding to stop hiding.

Bi college lacrosse player thrives after finding her identity

Therese Pitman used to hide her feelings for other women while also dating men until she decided to just be herself.

A gay Christian from Oklahoma finds identity and niche as athletics administrator at Stanford

Working on a video highlighting LGTBQ sports equality in Kentucky was the catalyst for Justin Mathis to begin his coming out journey.

Gay golf pro comes out to change perceptions in conservative sport

Golf ‘at its core is a conservative white straight cis-male dominated industry,’ says Kyle Winn. ‘It has gotten better, but we have a long way to go.’

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.