Gay high school wrestler speaks; thoughts on coming out to parents …

Hi, friends and readers:

Today I received a comment from a high school sophomore in Nebraska named Sander. Sander’s fifteen and gay. He said the following:

“I came across your blog by accident when I Googled the search term “gay high school wrestlers.” I’ve read all your posts about gay high school and college wrestlers and the comments wrestlers have sent you. They’re very cool.

“Of course, none of my teammates knows I am gay. I’ve told one girl at my school who’s a good friend and she’s fine with it. But I want to tell my parents, too. I don’t like hiding things from them, but I’m worried how they’ll react when I tell them.”

Well, Sander, I can understand how you feel. Coming out to your parents is a scary leap, but I can tell you it’s worth it. Berlieve me, your parents love you and they will accept you. You might want to discuss this with a counselor at school, to decide just how to handle the situation, before you proceed.

I came across the following statement written by a Canadian student who came out to his parents not long ago. I hope it gives you some confidence and a bit of comfort. Here’s what he said on his blog:

“A lot of you will remember I came out to my parents last Thanksgiving. If you’ve been following me a while you’ll know I’ve been reluctant to talk about it. I tend to internalize things and the actual act of telling my parents was just personally traumatic that I haven’t wanted to go back and relive the events of that night if I can help it. I spent the better part of my teenage years trying to block my parents out of my life, telling them I was going to calculus extra help when I was driving down to visit my boyfriend or lying about who I was hanging out with so they wouldn’t suspect I was gay or straight. November 26th, 2009 I single handedly destroyed that world I had built for them. It was like throwing the engine suddenly into reverse and being honest with them, and myself, was terrifying. I felt exposed but once I started talking to them about it, everything just poured out. All the lies, all the withheld information, all my fears, why I waited so long, how I had felt, how I was sorry.

“I’m not one to cry and I don’t think I’ve cried in front of my parents since I was little, but I couldn’t hold it back or stop myself. It was that kind of awkward cry where you can’t control what noises you make. But what I had done was permanent, there was no going back to the life I had had before. For years I’d lie awake at night and think about the day I would tell them, but once I finally did I realized I’d never thought about what my life would be like after. I was in completely uncharted territory but I wasn’t scared because I had nothing else to lose. I’d bared everything I had, I had turned my world around on them and the ball was in their court now.

“Neither of them knew what to do but I shouldn’t have expected them to. But they stood by me and told me that it didn’t change anything and that all they wanted was to know I was happy and safe. And even today, they still don’t know how to be about it but they try so hard. Its not perfect but now I feel like we’re trying to move on together. My relationship with my parents, my sister, and my brother has never been better and I feel a part of their world for the first time that I can really remember.

“My brother is getting married Saturday and being involved in making that wedding happen has had me thinking about my future and I think I can now say that someday if I have a wedding I can count on my brother to be my best man and my mom to fuss over the plans and drive me crazy and do everything else they would do for him.

“A year ago was the National Equality March and while I can’t even begin to go into how great and surreal that whole weekend was, it was that day last year that set me on the path to tell my parents. When they called me that night and asked me what I did that weekend and I had to say nothing, I couldn’t take it any more.

“For anyone who still has yet to come out, you don’t need me to tell you it gets better after. But the closet does things to you that people aren’t meant to go through. The constant introspection and over analyzing and the fear, it stops. It goes away and it doesn’t come back.  Remember that telling people isn’t so much a clarification for them but a fight for you and your life. No matter how much it feels like your environment is dictating to you, remember you can give it the finger and change it however you like.

“That’s all.”

Well said, I think.

And, Sander. I’m sure you know about the It Gets Better Project, a campaign reacting to recent suicides of several gay teens. I came across the following You Tube video I want you to watch:

Good luck, Sander.

It’s a beautiful evening here on the island. I’m cooking dinner in a little while. My boyfriend’s due home from work soon and we’ll watch University of Wisconsin play Ohio State in football. Go Badgers!

Enjoy your Saturday night, all.

3 thoughts on “Gay high school wrestler speaks; thoughts on coming out to parents …

  1. Hi Martin,
    I had to write and tell you how beautiful your post is about coming out to your parents, etc. I’m touched and wanted you to know. Bravo for you and your parents, they sound like wonderful people, with a wonderful son.

    I write for Noble too, strange we’ve never been in touch. Anyway, had to let you know that stories like yours should be told.

    Take care,
    Brita Addams (aka Tina Ordone)

  2. Hi,
    I work on a sports newsmagazine show, and I’ve been looking into the topic of gay high school and gay college wrestlers. I’ve read your posts about the issue, and noticed that since your original post about the topic, a number of gay wrestlers have reached out to you.

    I’m looking to get in contact with openly gay wrestlers in college and high school to see if they might be interested in being on our show and sharing their stories in a positive and non-exploitative manner. Our show has done a number of stories on wrestling and a few on gay athletes, and I’d be more than happy to send you some examples of our stories to show you the kind of work we do.

    I would like to know if you and your site might be able to help facilitate our search since your site has a number of gay wrestlers that visit on a regular basis, and since you’ve mentioned that you’ve heard from some openly gay wrestlers whose teams and families know about their sexuality.

    Please let me know if you’d be available to speak on the phone about this to see if this is something you might be interested in helping out with.


  3. Hi again Martin,
    I tried sending you the Real Sports videos last week, but it bounced back. Is this your email address: I sent a couple emails there earlier this month, but don’t know for sure if you ever received them.

    Sorry for not following up sooner, work’s been busy. I would still definitely like to post the request on your website if you’ll still allow it.

    Please let me know.


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