June 18, 2013

Seeing the Game Change

Liam Arne, a high school student, from Manassas City, Virgina is one of the winners of the Megan Rapinoe Changing the Game contest. Check out Liam’s winning entry, where he discusses his experiences with homophobia in sports.

"As a gay former athlete, I identify strongly with Megan Rapinoe's bravery. I admire her for coming out and supporting LGBTQ student athletes through GLSEN’s Changing the Game.  In school athletics, I have experienced an overpowering sense of homophobia from my not only peers, but also teachers. As I was beginning to discover who I was in middle school, this permeating homophobia and transphobia haunted me on my school's track team and step team, as well as a competitive community swim team and the occasional tennis court.  Not a single practice or meet could pass by without at least one member of the team, a team that was supposed to provide me with a comfortable and accepting community, disavow who I was without realizing it.  Hateful and prejudicial words and phrases were often used by my teammates. Worst of all, my coaches sanctioned these harmful expressions by using them themselves.  

I came to realize that I could never fit in with my teams, just because I am gay.  Ultimately, the homophobic gestures of my peers and adult sponsors who were supposed to provide a fun and fair experience made me so uncomfortable that I chose to abandon sports altogether.  I am now proud to once again start calling myself a gay athlete since players like Megan Rapinoe and Robbie Rogers have courageously come out, stood up and called for an end to the injustice.  No student deserves to cut short their athletic pursuits simply because of homophobia. GLSEN and Megan Rapinoe are taking steps to change that for the future."

Join us in congratulating Liam by posting your Selfie for Sports and tell us what you are doing to Change The Game!

Christoph Sawyer

About Christoph Sawyer

GLSEN National: Communications Intern Summer 2013

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