Soccer Star Robbie Rogers Opens Up about Coming Out
March 29, 2013 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media
Today 25-year-old international soccer star Robbie Rogers, who represented the U.S. men’s national soccer team in the 2008 Olympics, sat down with The Guardian to discuss his struggle to live openly.
Just last month Rogers simultaneously came out as a gay man and retired from soccer. In a post on his personal blog, he wrote, “Life is only complete when your loved ones know you. When they know your true feelings, when they know who and how you love. Life is simple when your secret is gone. Gone is the pain that lurks in the stomach at work, the pain from avoiding questions, and at last the pain from hiding such a deep secret. “
Rogers told The Guardian of his longtime struggle to balance his identity as a gay man and a professional athlete. “The more successful you become the harder it is to step away,” he said.
Homophobia and transphobia has long permeated the culture of professional sports, creating a vitriolic environment in which it is difficult for any player to live openly.
Should he return to his career as a professional soccer player, Rogers would become the first openly gay male athlete to play in a major American team sport, and one of only a handful of individuals to come out while still active in their sport.
The process of coming out and living openly is a long and difficult journey unique to each individual. It is an act of bravery and authenticity to decide to come out.
While many professional U.S. athletes have stood up as straight advocates for the LGBT community, there remains much work to be done.
Whether he decides to return to professional sports or not, we wish Rogers the best in whatever the next chapter of his life brings.
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