In the video, Manta sits next to her girlfriend, Aleena, who plays guitar with an HRC sticker on the case. Manta reads the love letter mixed in with Aleena singing.
“I’ve been with you for a whole year and I wanted to say thank you,” she starts. “Mostly thank you for being here even though I’ve made your love my shadow.”
Manta’s message of thanks and patience is one with which many people in same-sex relationships can identify, particularly those whose partners are gay, bi or queer professional or elite-level athletes, given how so few of them are publicly out.
“Thank you for waiting through every conversation that I’ve referred to you as my best friend, not because you’re not my best friend, but because I’ve had to swallow the words ‘my love my love my love’ each time instead.”
She goes on to call the closet a prison cell, a lifelong panic attack and like being buried alive.
Watch the whole video and bring some tissues:
Manta told Outsports the response to her public coming out has been positive.
“I’m really grateful for all the people who have reached out in support,” Manta said. “It’s been a little overwhelming. I’m adjusting to having more attention directed toward something I’ve kept fairly private for some time.”
She had previously dipped her toe out of the closet, posting this Instagram photo from Pride earlier this year yet not publicly self-identifying as LGBTQ:
On the ice, Manta is the partner of skater Joseph Johnson. The duo finished ninth at this year’s United States National Championships.