Two years ago today, I was at a Miami Marlins baseball game. I was with my lesbian friend from work, who brought her girlfriend.
The two had been dating for years, and I was silently admiring their relationship. They had no qualms about showing affection toward one another at a sporting event. This being Miami, nobody cared that they were in a same-sex relationship. And I was extremely jealous.
I didn’t think it was possible to be openly gay and still be involved in sports. I also didn’t think Wisconsin was a very tolerant place to live.
But then, good things started to happen. More and more states achieved marriage equality over the summer. Wisconsin elected the first openly lesbian Senator, and an openly gay man took her House seat.
The You Can Play project really took off in late 2012 and early 2013, with more and more athletes affirming acceptance of gay teammates. And it all culminated when Jason Collins opened the floodgates.
That gave me the courage (excuse?) I needed to finally say those two, terrifying words.
One year ago today, I finally said it. “I’m gay.”
Fast forward a year, and not only have I remained involved in sports. I now finally play hockey.
In the past week, my team won a hockey tournament, and I found myself sitting with my boyfriend at a Brewers game—with no qualms about showing affection toward one another at a sporting event.
Thank you to everyone who helped me get here in the past year—old friends, and new!