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Coming Out Stories

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

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For gay triathlete, finishing the IRONMAN fulfills a dream

When an exhausted Michael Lalli crossed the finish line in Hawaii, the triathlete felt a major sense of accomplishment and a realization of where his coming out journey led him.

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For gay Duke diver, inclusion on his team wasn’t an empty phrase

"Seeing for the first time in my life successful queer individuals being not just tolerated, but celebrated by those around them, was life changing," says Duke diver Nathaniel Hernandez.

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Tennis player and now coach blossomed after coming out as gay

‘Being out ... has allowed me to truly find a community within the game of tennis,’ Scott Strough says.

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Gay college athlete was hesitant, but attending a Catholic school was a winning decision

Any reservations Anh Nguyen had attending a Catholic university as an openly gay athlete were quickly dispelled.

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Young soccer referee has thrived all the while being openly gay

‘Sports have always given me the chance to express myself and be passionate without the fear of what others will think of me,’ Alec Pena says.

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NCAA tournament run was extra sweet for out gay volleyball coach

‘The impact of coming out in college athletics has made my job and career so much more enjoyable,’ Keith Anderson says.

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For college swimming coach, being gay no longer a big thing and that’s why it’s a great thing

Matthew Kinney persevered through some dark times as he was coming out, but that is all well behind him now.

Gay college softball player navigates an accepting team and silent family

‘College has been my escape, somewhere I can be truly and unapologetically myself,’ Emma Hoffart says.

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From college swimmer to high school coach, gay athlete stayed true to himself

‘The most challenging part of being gay has actually been encouraging myself to be more open with others,’ MacJilton Lewis writes.

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For gay West Virginia athletes, their wedding day was ‘ultimate team brunch’

Candace and Tig Archer started dating while runners at West Virginia University. It was only fitting that their close-knit team was an integral part of their wedding.

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Gay Dartmouth tennis player wants more men’s players to come out to increase visibility

"I think it’s important to increase the representation so that people at the upper levels of the sport will be able to come out and feel supported," says John Speicher, who struggled with his own coming out at Dartmouth.

For gay Texas Rangers writer, life has turned sweet after he hit rock bottom

Alex Plinck thought he had nothing to live for, but he was wrong. Now openly gay, Plinck is thriving and doing the thing he loves most — covering sports.

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Gay rower, now at University of Alabama, watched ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and came out to parents next day

Jack Lombardo took one of his lowest moments as an athlete and used it as a catalyst to come out. He has never regretted it.

Gay college gymnast came out with confidence and assist from teammates

When Collin Lillie decided to come out, ‘my teammates lifted me up, gave me space to figure it out and celebrated me above all.’

Gay runner at Coast Guard Academy finds being authentic allows him to thrive

After shedding internal doubts, Josiah Davis says that "by coming out of the closet, I’ve allowed myself to have deeper friendships with my peers as well as shift my priorities."

Soccer has been guiding light for lesbian college soccer player turned business coach

After struggling with being gay growing up, Kim Brady found her niche on Cal’s soccer team in college and never looked back.

Gay Texas high school athlete comes out to team and starts a Gay Straight Alliance

‘The realization hit me that I was the first gay person any of my teammates had ever met,’ Britton Majure says after he came out as gay.

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Gay slur from a fan and game of Hangman with teammates inspired college athlete to come out

After coming out at her Maryland college, Lindsey Farrell "felt more connected to not only the sports community, but now my community as an LGBTQ+ member."

Out college basketball player finds her activist side off the court

Grace Dzindolet has always loved basketball, but in college she co-founded a support group for LGBTQIA+ student-athletes as she continues to push inclusion.

For nonbinary high school swimmer, ‘dumbest thing I’ve ever done’ turned out to be the best

Swimmer Jordan Fixsen took the plunge by coming out as nonbinary to their team. Anxiety and fear of rejection were replaced by support and acceptance.

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.