A gay triathlete speaks up …

Hi, friends and readers:

How is everyone this morning? I’m up super-early, and not by choice. I’m taking care of a family member’s medical issues. It’s not fun, but one does these things sometimes, right?

Yesterday, I received a comment from a young man named Dean. He lives in the Portland, Oregon area. Dean is seventeen. He said the following:

“I found your blog when I did a Google search on gay high school athletes. That was about six weeks ago. Since then I’ve read every one of your posts you put up since 2008.

“The ones I’m interested in are the comments you get from gay athletes, particularly distance runners. I do triathlons. That means I run, bike and swim, all in the same competition. I have won medals in my age groups since I was 12. My dad is also a triathlete. So is his brother, my uncle.

“Last year, I came out to my family. I had to. I couldn’t stand it anymore, the hiding. I don’t have a boyfriend, but I belong to the GSA at my high school, I have a few gay friends. I wanted my family to know me for who I am. It was a mistake. They tried to send me to a Christian “counselor” who would “straighten me out.” But I don’t need straightened out. I’m gay. So what? That doesn’t make me less of an athlete. Does it? It doesn’t make me less of a person either. I’m still a good athlete. I’m still a good student. I’m still a good son.

“The counseling didn’t work, of course. Now, I’m barely speaking to my parents. My younger brother won’t talk to me at all. How come? Did Jesus ever say being gay was a sin? I don’t think so.

“I don’t know what to do. I just started my senior year of high school. I can’t just move out of the house. But I feel like I’m living in a prison. Sometimes I just want to jump in front of a bus or something. But I won’t. My training is my salvation. When I’m running or biking or swimming, I sort of get lost in myself and I forget all the bad things that have happened lately.

“I know all of this sounds depressing. But I wanted to share my feelings with you. You can post what I’m saying if you want. Thanks for your blog.”

Oh, Dean . . . I feel so badly for you. Thanks for writing. I’m not sure what to say. But look: you have a life ahead of you. You’ll find a boyfriend soon enough, I’m sure. And maybe one day your family will learn to accept you and love you for who you are. In the meantime, finish high school and keep training. It’s good for you.

Okay, that’s a sad way to start the day, but I thought I should share Dean’s words with all of you. I’m off to the hospital. Have a nice Wednesday, wherever you are.

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