Thursday, October 2, 2008

An Inspiring Story About Being a Black Gay Athlete

Outsports has posted an article written by Jamal Brown, a former Dartmouth track and field athlete. Jamal is also featured in Jeff Sheng’s Fearless Campus Tour. I encourage readers to take the time to read Jamal’s Outsports post.

I have always been a believer in the power of personal story-telling. Jamal’s story, and the stories of other LGBT athletes and coaches who can choose to tell their stories and live their truth, can empower the story teller and everyone else in their lives. When teammates and coaches respond with friendship and support, it enriches everyone’s life and frees the team to focus on what the focus should be in athletics: becoming the best athlete and team possible.

When I hear about stories like the ones unfolding at SMU or Mesa Community College or on the youth baseball team in Indiana (check previous posts), it seems so clear that what is happening in these situations is such a destructive force that ruins the sport experience for all. It sucks the life out of a team, not to mention ruining the careers of athletes and coaches. Regardless of their sexual orientation, what do the young people on these teams learn?

Thanks, Jamal, and all of the other LGBT athletes and coaches who are speaking up and out, telling their stories, naming their truths with the expectation that teammates and coaches will rise to the occasion rather than respond based on their fears and prejudices. The more those who can speak up do, the more space we create for those who fear speaking their truth because their teammates and coaches have not yet learned to overcome their fear and prejudice. Team by team, LGBT athletes who come out are changing sports and that change is a good thing.

Note: I will be away for about ten days and will not be posting anything until sometime the week of October 13. Take care. Talk to you later.

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