Category Archive : Sports

Candace Parker explains how her daughter propelled her to publicly come out

Candace Parker is one of the most decorated female basketball players of all-time. | Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Parker couldn’t tell her daughter to be herself without living her own authentic life. Candace Parker started playing basketball in Russia for the same reason as many WNBA stars: the pay is better. But her trips to the authoritarian nation wound up being about more than padding her bank account.
It’s where she met her wife.
Parker opened up about her personal life and marriage in a recent interview with Time. The WNBA legend talked about her late-night chats with Anna Petrakova, a former Olympic basketball player from Russia with whom she was teammates, and their unexpected romance.
The couple publicly came out last December on their two-year wedding anniversary. Parker says her 13-year-old daughter, Lailaa, was one of the biggest reasons why.
“I always tell my daughter to be herself,” she said. “I always tell my daughter to be proud of who she is. And I always tell my daughter to speak for herself and speak up for those that she loves. And I can’t say that to her if I’m not doing it myself. … That was a step we had to take. But we had to take it on our own terms.”
One of the reasons for their covert wedding was Petrakova’s status as a Russian citizen. They were worried she’d face discrimination and blowback living under Vladimir Putin’s vehemently anti-LGBTQ regime.
Parker, who was previously married to former NBA forward Sheldon Williams, says she never pictured herself in a gay relationship, and ditto for Petrakova. One kiss changed their thinking.
“We literally denied it to ourselves for three years I think,” said Petrakova. “Then we just finally accepted it. That was a long, hard process.”
Their surprise romance is a reminder that life is a journey full of unexpected turns. Despite their initial trepidation, they stayed true to themselves, and listened to their hearts.
Parker proposed to Petrakova on a vacation they took to Mexico in 2019, with an assist from her daughter. Surrounded by about 15 friends and family on an afternoon boat trip, Lailaa presented Petrakova with a cake that contained a four-word question: “Will you marry us?”
Their family has grown from three to four, with the arrival of their son, Airr Larry Petrakov Parker, in February.
“I hope I was able to open up the door of conversations,” she said. “And open up the door of how valuable it is to have support.”
Parker will have quite the cheering squad when she aims for her second straight WNBA championship this postseason with the Chicago Sky. And now, they can all be in the open.
Read the full interview here, in which Parker addresses Brittney Griner’s detention, and more. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Gay pro baseball player’s teammates ask about his boyfriend, ‘wedding’ advice

Bryan Ruby hitting for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes of the Maverick Independent League, July 2021. | David Green

Bryan Ruby has found acceptance from teammates, and inspiration in Solomon Bates. This article is part of a series of op-eds that out professional baseball player Bryan Ruby will be sharing with Outsports readers throughout 2022. Bryan is also a co-founder of Proud To Be In Baseball, an advocacy and support group focused on elevating LGBTQ inclusion in the sport.
I was pretty nervous walking into the clubhouse for my first day back on the ballfield this season. Usually I take the field in early spring, but this year I didn’t begin playing in games until midsummer, focusing my early-season efforts instead on a ballpark tour in support of Proud To Be In Baseball.
I had played in games last season after coming out in early September, but a lot has changed over the past 10 months. A quick scroll through my social media shows a whole lot of rainbow, and as they say: once you’re ‘out’, there’s no going back ‘in’ (the closet).
Walking back into the hyper-masculine world of the locker room last month, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about being treated differently by my teammates this season. My guard was up as I stood at my locker, changing with the rest of the guys before my first practice back with the squad.
Guys were making small talk and I was keeping a low profile, like usual, when one of our starting pitchers turned towards me and asked a particularly loud question.
“So Ruby, how’s your boyfriend doing?”
So much for keeping a low profile.
“He’s good, thanks for asking,” I responded.
“How long have you guys been together?” He asked.
I answered the pitcher’s question and he then began telling me about his girlfriend. Looking around the locker room, I saw guys who had heard our conversation but couldn’t care less.
That was something I never, ever thought could be possible to talk about so nonchalantly in the locker room. Now I know for the first time how good it feels to have a workplace conversation in which you don’t have to lie about your personal life. I felt so much validation in that moment. It was a gigantic relief.
Speaking of relief…
A few nights later, we were catching fly balls in centerfield during batting practice when one of our hard-throwing relief pitchers approached me. Love was in the air after we’d all just attended the wedding of one of our other teammates that weekend, and this particular pitcher (a straight guy) had been very popular amongst the bridesmaids at the afterparty.
“Ruby!” He asserted. “I need you to tell me EVERYTHING you know about gay weddings!”
He then explained that he’d started a ‘side hustle’ officiating weddings after clicking on a ‘Become Ordained As A Minister In 30 Minutes Or Less’ ad online, and that he’d heard gay weddings were a ‘good market’ for business.
I stood there giggling, thinking “This has to be a first in the history of baseball…”
When has a queer player ever advised a straight teammate about officiating gay weddings during batting practice?
All of this is a long winded way of saying that if anybody reading this needs a pro baseball player to officiate their wedding, I know a guy.

Bryan Ruby
Bryan Ruby with members of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes attending a teammate’s wedding, July 2022.

A few days ago, I was running off the field after practice when I opened my phone to find several missed texts and calls from people in the LGBTQ sports world. Our small but ever-growing network of LGBTQ people in baseball was filled with pride and excitement to see former San Francisco Giants Minor League Relief Pitcher Solomon Bates come out publicly.
As the news broke and Bates’ Instagram post received an outpouring of supportive comments, there was one piece of information I saw that stuck out. Bates has already been out to his teammates since 2019 and is the latest of the recent crop of players in college or professional baseball who have taken that extra meaningful step of coming out publicly, in most cases after already receiving support from their teammates.
Between Bates and Kieran Lovegrove in Minor League Baseball, myself in Independent Baseball, and Brian Zapp in college baseball, it seems like we are really starting to gain some momentum. It’s already quite a different picture than the one that existed at this time last summer, when exactly zero pro baseball players were out publicly. At this rate, Proud To Be In Baseball might even have to start thinking about fielding a team. Gay Games 2024, anyone?

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The moral of this story is simple, yet it is one that deserves repeating until there has been an out player on every single baseball team at every level of the game. There really is nothing more meaningful in a queer athlete’s journey than receiving the support of one’s teammates. It can be everything from life-saving to career-making.
As Bates continues his journey up the ladder of the minor leagues — he’s already landed on another team, the Sioux City Explorers — his story will continue to inspire and pave the way for the next generation of LGBTQ people in baseball. The road to The Show may be long, but Bates has a wave of momentum and an outpouring of new supporters who are rooting for him. I’ll be the first to tell you that I am one of them.
Be sure to follow Bryan Ruby and Proud To Be In Baseball on Instagram. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Carl Nassib signing could be one of the most important moments in LGBT — and NFL — history

Carl Nassib signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers bolsters the undeniable claim that sports have changed, and out gay athletes are welcomed even in the NFL. | Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

By signing Carl Nassib, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made a move whose impact may be felt for years. Carl Nassib signing a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could go down as one of the most important moments in LGBT history.
Coming out publicly as a gay pro athlete takes a ton of courage. It mandates the person — particularly a gay or bi male athlete — welcome some form of attention for sharing his true self, which could at times feel a bit overwhelming. Given the very few publicly out gay pro athletes, it can also create some feeling of loneliness.
Yet for me, the importance of Nassib and the Bucs agreeing to work together for the next year goes even beyond that in importance.
This is a team with a new head coach (albeit one who has worked previously with Nassib), a quarterback (Tom Brady) who wasn’t around when Nassib was previously on the team, and a real shot at winning a Super Bowl, who decided that they’d sign him.
No team — just based on publicity and appearance — would cut a player shortly after he came out.
But for a “new” team to go out and sign a player who is already out?
Huge.
This isn’t to take away from the moment any athlete — Nassib, Jason Collins, Robbie Rogers— came out. Now almost a decade ago, each of them got signed by a team after coming out too. And the moment each of them was signed was rightly heralded as a huge moment.
To be sure, I count Collins signing with the Brooklyn Nets, Rogers winning an MLS Cup with the LA Galaxy, as well as Michael Sam being drafted by the St. Louis Rams, as monumental moments for the history of the LGBT community and their respective leagues. They helped really start the conversation about out gay athletes in men’s pro sports.
This signing of Nassib feels like the beginning of the final chapter of that same conversation, that after this move, people claiming that men’s pro sports broadly hate gay athletes (and yes, this is still a claim) simply have no leg to stand on.
For his part, Nassib and his agent played this perfectly. Athletes can be undermined by a quick signing that gets them into a clubhouse faster (Nassib has essentially been on the market for almost a half-year). But without a great situation or strong financial aspect to a contract, it can go poorly for the athlete.
Nassib played it smart as a veteran with a proven track record, waiting for what feels like a good situation.
As Fox Sports NFL writer Henry McKenna told Alex Reimer on his Sports Kiki podcast this week, while some people were concerned that homophobia was the reason Nassib hadn’t yet signed with a team, the wait was “not too unusual for a guy who’s a former starter to not quite have a deal yet. For example, sometimes they just want a little more money than other teams are willing to give them.”
This news also comes just a few days after another out gay professional athlete — Solomon Bates — signed with the Sioux City Explorers after coming out.
In a matter of the last five days, two different out gay professional athletes have signed with different teams in different states in different sports and different leagues.
Sports. Have. Changed.
It is also of note that those two teams are in states with Republican governors, two Republican Senators and who each voted for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump twice.
In other words: These are teams representing more-conservative areas who understand their players and fanbases will accept these gay athletes.
This also shatters all of the chatter I saw on social media from some corners of the LGBT community claiming that the NFL and its anti-gay forces would prevent Nassib from every playing in the league again. This was always a flat-out untruth, based on old stereotypes and misinformation.
Yet some LGBT people feel the need to cling to old stereotypes of athletes as they remember them in gym class, teasing the gay kids. Athletes have changed, and it’s great to see a team like the Buccaneers acknowledge that by signing Nassib they only help their chance of winning another Lombardi Trophy.
I’ve said for years that if a team can’t handle a gay athlete in the locker room, they should fire their general manager and coaching staff, and find some new team captains — It would be a failure of leadership.
Nassib now walks into a locker room with strong leadership — for example, quarterback Tom Brady — and a coaching staff — head coach Todd Bowles has been in the league for 20 years — with the same.
Is this Stonewall? No.
Yet the NFL is king in America. Football is the most powerful cultural institution in the United States, and the NFL is the most powerful extension of the sport.
The Bucs signing Nassib sends a message to every single gay athlete hoping to make it in professional sports that, yes, if they can produce in game-time situations, they can be out and proud and have a career, even for a team with a real shot at the Super Bowl.
And gay fans everywhere — and even LGBT people who couldn’t care less about the NFL — have a powerful reason to cheer for the Bucs this season. If Nassib was able to walk away from his career with a Super Bowl ring… we can only hope. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Carl Nassib signs with Tampa Bay Buccaneers, per reports

Carl Nassib will return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a source has told Adam Schefter. | Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Carl Nassib continues to break ground, signing with another NFL team after coming out publicly as gay. Carl Nassib has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. According to Schefter, who is citing an unnamed source, the deal is for one year.
Nassib previously played for the Buccaneers in 2018 and 2019, having strong seasons that led to the Las Vegas Raiders signing him to a large multi-year deal.
Nassib was released by the Raiders earlier this year after a guaranteed contract would have used about $7 million against the Raiders’ 2022 salary cap. As Outsports has said all along, homophobia had nothing to do with his release — It was a business decision.
Now the Bucs have made another important business decision, bringing in a productive defensive player. Not only did he play for this very team, but he also played for now-head-coach Todd Bowles, who was the defensive coordinator his second season in Tampa Bay.
The signing shows that the NFL can and will accept gay players who can help a team win. The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl two seasons ago and were a playoff team last year until being upset in the playoffs by the Los Angeles Rams, who went on to win the Super Bowl.
With Tom Brady at the help of the offense, Nassib walks onto a team that is favored to win their division. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Tom Daley displays his activist side in new “Illegal To Be Me” documentary

With Pride flags as a backdrop, Tom Daley enters the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in “Illegal To Be Me’s” climactic sequence. | Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Daley witnesses the institutionalized homophobia that numerous LGBTQ athletes face and refines his activism by listening to their testimony. For the most part, Tom Daley’s YouTube videos don’t stray too far from a lighthearted and upbeat tone. It’s part of what has made him such a charismatic camera presence — the kind of athlete who can make 15 shirtless minutes of sampling Japanese candy a must-watch.
But as host of the new BBC documentary “Tom Daley: Illegal To Be Me,” Daley gets a chance to show his fans a different side of himself. In taking on the weighty issue of legalized homophobia within dozens of Commonwealth countries, the openly gay Olympic diver proves that he can give a serious topic the kind of thoughtful and weighty treatment it deserves.
It’s quite a long way from walking down Hollywood Boulevard as Kermit the Frog. But it’s another step toward Daley’s fuller embrace of his role as athlete-activist on behalf the LGBTQ community.
“Illegal To Be Me” is an important program because it presents a stark and honest look at the depths of persecution that numerous LGBTQ athletes face in countries like Pakistan, Nigeria and Jamaica.

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Six athletes and activists from “Illegal To Be Me” carried the Pride flag as Daley ran in with the Queen’s Baton during the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games in July.

For example, while Daley travels to Pakistan and manages to locate and communicate with several LGBTQ athletes, all of them are forced to hide their identities in one way or another for fear of their true identities being found out. And to a person, they offer very little in the way of hope or optimism that conditions in their country will improve anytime soon.
It’s a bleak sequence and at this point, the documentary could have descended into a nihilistic exercise in relentless hopelessness — something like what would happen if Werner Herzog ran ESPN. To be sure, there are many stories and some shocking footage throughout the film’s hour-long duration of athletes and public figures facing deeply disturbing homophobic abuse.
There are also scenes where Daley questions whether he should be proud of his Commonwealth Games medals and candid confessionals during which he recalls periods of depression and self-loathing as a closeted gay child.
What ends up interrupting this bleakness is Daley’s consistent refrain asking what can be done to improve these athletes’ lot in life. And what makes this part of the documentary especially interesting is that it provides an opportunity to watch the evolution of Daley’s viewpoint as to how to respond to Commonwealth countries that outlaw homosexuality.
For most of the past year, Daley has been vocal about his call for sporting organizations to ban nations with such laws on the books. In the past, he’s advocated for the Olympics to ban countries with death penalties for being gay. Echoing this at the start of the film, he asserts that the Commonwealth Games should consider preventing countries with anti-gay laws from hosting the event.
But while speaking to LGBTQ athletes in person, Daley learns firsthand that they don’t believe such a punitive punishment will help their situation. As one of the anonymous Pakistani athletes informs him, the rulers of their country wouldn’t be fazed by being forbidden from hosting the Games and such an action wouldn’t change anything for those who have to live there.
Instead, what stands out is that these athletes believe they can best be helped by the Commonwealth Games showing a genuine offering of support for all LGBTQ athletes and how many of them specifically request that the Pride flag be flown during the Games. To Daley’s credit, he makes a genuine effort to listen to what they have to say and soon realizes that bringing the rainbow flag into the Birmingham Games will be provide more hope than any ban.

Photo by Andrew Matthews-Pool/Getty Images
Daley’s LGBTQ activism helped lead to his being named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire this past July.

While we in the U.S. are privileged to see so many Pride Nights in sports, we’re also sometimes quick to be skeptical about teams using Pride to market to our community. We often wonder if such promotions are just rainbow washing in disguise — sometimes justifiably so.
But as Daley’s documentary demonstrates, simply flying the Pride flag during the Commonwealth game represents a rare beacon of hope for so many LGBTQ athletes living under oppressive regimes. In this particular sports context, the rainbow banner represents something far deeper than a promotion — it’s about human rights.
So when Daley invited six activists and athletes that he met during the filming to carry Pride flags as he brought The Queen’s Baton into the Opening Ceremony, it was his way of telling all the athletes he encountered that what they had to say mattered.
While “Illegal To Be Me” is currently only available to stream in Britain, hopefully the BBC will give it a broader distribution soon. It’s a raw and honest portrayal of what it means to be LGBTQ in many countries that make living as your true self a crime.
It’s also a deeper portrait of Daley’s activism than anything we’ve ever seen before. In perhaps the documentary’s most hopeful moments, it also shows that Serious Tom Daley can get the job done. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Pitcher Solomon Bates signs with pro team 2 days after publicly coming out

Solomon Bates says he publicly came out to be a role model.

Bates’ big league dream continues. When Minor League Baseball player Solomon Bates publicly came out as gay Tuesday in the wake of his release, he expressed full confidence that he would sign on with another pro team soon.
As it turns out, it took just two days.
Bates announced Thursday he’s signed with the Sioux City Explorers, who are members of the American Association of Professional Baseball, an independent league founded in 2005.
“Gotta wait Patiently for a minor league affiliate. Sioux City explorers is where I will get another chance for now. I’m thankful for it. God has blessed me,” tweeted Bates.

Gotta wait Patiently for a minor league affiliate. Sioux City explorers is where I will get another chance for now. I’m thankful for it. God has blessed me. https://t.co/eZCO435Ybl— Solomon Bates (@SolomonBates_) August 11, 2022

Bates publicly came out on Instagram this week after he was released from the San Francisco Giants organization. The right-handed hurler pitched for the Richmond Flying Squirrels (the Giants’ Double-A affiliate), and posted a respectable 4-1 record with a 3.74 ERA.
He accompanied his powerful coming out message with his stats page, showing that out gay pitchers can excel.

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A post shared by Solomon Bates (@solomonbates)

Bates, who came out to his teammates in 2019, told Outsports he decided to publicly share his sexuality so he could serve as an inspiration to others.
“I haven’t been out as my complete self because I’ve been hiding myself,” he said. “I’m a masculine man who loves the sport of baseball, and now I want to open up doors for gay athletes like me.”
As our Ken Schultz wrote, Bates’ self-confidence serves as an example for all of us. He knows he’s good enough to play pro baseball, and isn’t afraid of his sexual orientation derailing his career.
It hasn’t to this point.
“I want people to see my stats and let people know gay men can play baseball. I was on the verge of doing that, my shot just ended up short,” Bates told Cyd Zeigler.
Now, he’s receiving another opportunity. Bates’ journey continues, and this time, he’s not hiding for anyone. Outsports – All Posts Read More

After coming out, pitcher Solomon Bates’s sense of self-confidence is an example for all of us

Solomon Bates delivers a pitch with the same sense of self-assurance that he showed when he came out publicly this week. | Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

While climbing the Minor League Baseball ladder, Bates developed a sense of belief in himself that shone through when he came out publicly as gay this week. Like anyone with functioning emotions, I was elated to read this week’s news of Minor League Baseball player Solomon Bates coming out publicly as gay.
As the late great Vin Scully was fond of pointing out, in baseball, “momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher.” With Bates following in the rotation after Kieran Lovegrove publicly came out as bisexual last season, it seems like baseball is starting to establish a healthy trend of LGBTQ players feeling comfortable enough to share their true selves and finding acceptance among their teammates.
At least on the minor league level. It’s actually pretty cool to realize that when we talk about the players who came out first during this era, we’ll have to remember that the push for inclusivity was led by teams like the Flying Squirrels and the Trash Pandas.
In the brief time since Bates has come out, one quality of his has especially stood out: his well-earned self-confidence. In the voice of an athlete who has just shared his sexuality with the world for the first time, it’s a beautiful thing.
During his interview with Outsports, Bates asserted: “I want people to see my stats and let people know gay men can play baseball. I was on the verge of doing that, my shot just ended up short.”
Within his coming out Instagram post, he said, “I’m still going to open up doors for gay athletes like me. Still will strive to be one of the greatest to do it.”
Then in responding on Twitter to the question of whether his sexuality will be an issue for teams looking to sign him for 2023, Bates gave an answer for the ages:

It shouldn’t be an issue. I’m out pitching all of their heterosexual pitchers they love. https://t.co/rpzvfc2txa— Solomon Bates (@SolomonBates_) August 10, 2022

This kind of belief in himself is an inspiration to LGBTQ fans everywhere. And it’s not at all surprising to see it coming from a baseball player trying to claw his way up the ladder to the big leagues.
Because baseball is a game of failure more than any other sport, in order to maintain anything resembling a consistent level of performance (not to mention sanity), elite players have to develop an almost superhuman level of self-confidence—often bordering on bravado.
Picture both Drag Race queens turning it out during the famous Etta James lip sync for your life. Every baseball player has to find that level of belief within themselves in order to survive. Regardless of how many times they have come up short, they must believe that when they throw the next pitch, they’re going to dominate.
(And if some day Baseball Reference lists Jorgeous as the number-one similarity score for Bryce Harper, my work here is done.)
Baseball players have to develop this extreme level of love for themselves because they learn early on that no one else is going to do it for them.
Hmm…has anyone ever written that about being gay? Or bi? Or trans? In this way, Bates is showing the way for all of us.
Seeing that belief in self come through in Bates’ words is a reminder that whenever an LGBTQ baseball player comes out, he (Or she! Or they!) will get to know what it’s like to let their confidence flow for the first time, uninhibited by having to keep their identity a secret.
In all likelihood, that’s going to free them to believe in themselves even more on the field, and possibly even make them a better player. Which is precisely what’s coming through in Bates’ quotes.
Baseball teams are always trying to be the first to find a new market inefficiency. Hopefully, Bates can demonstrate that the next one could be “a gay player finally free to be himself.” Outsports – All Posts Read More

This college runner won a 5K during his 1st trip to Provincetown as an out gay man 

Keegan Gleason came out and won a 5K in Provincetown during the same year. | Photo provided

Keegan Gleason won Provincetown’s inaugural “Feet over Front Street” 5K, and looks forward to many more. Keegan Gleason made a couple of trips to Provincetown before this summer … as a closeted teen wrestling with his sexuality.
It’s safe to say he had a different experience this time around as an out gay man.
Gleason competed in Provincetown’s first “Feet over Front Street” 5K to commemorate the town’s Pride celebrations, and won. Talk about the perfect metaphor.
“It was just more freeing to run out, rather than be so afraid everyone is probably thinking I’m gay,” Gleason told Outsports. “When I went with my friends, I was like, ‘I’m not gay! I’m not gay!’ But this time, I’m very gay.”
Ptown is known for its “very gay” offerings, from drag shows to bacchanalian dance parties. But believe it or not, the gay oasis offers more than hedonism and late-night revelry.
A lot more.
Anybody who’s visited Provincetown has probably seen the scores of runners who spend their early mornings jogging along Commercial Street, taking in the warm salt air and serene beauty.
Last May, Paul Sauceda, who first visited Provincetown 20 years ago, decided to try and bring them together. Sauceda started the Provincetown Runners, which is now affiliated with the International Frontrunners, an LGBTQ running group with outposts in nearly every major U.S. city.

Photo provided
Gleason’s first trip to Ptown as an out gay man was a memorable one.

Twice per week, the group gets together and runs around town. Sauceda says runs during theme weeks can attract as many as 40 people, ranging from their early 20s to 70s.
“I’ve made more friends in the last year and four months since we started this running club than I made in the last 20 years in Ptown,” said Sauceda.
This summer, Sauceda came up with the idea of formalizing a 5K race, but needed help with the logistics. To make it happen, he partnered with the Provincetown Business Guild, which supports the array of boutique and independent businesses that help keep Ptown unique.
“It’s really important to let people know this isn’t just a space where you can come and party,” said Trevor Pittinger, associate director of the business guild. “This is a space where you can come and meditate or exercise or write or look at artwork and center yourself.”

Provincetown Business Guild
Roughly 125 runners competed in the first 5K, which started near gorgeous Herring Cove Beach.

For Gleason, running has always been therapeutic. It allows him the space to sort through his anxiety and think things through, including coming out.
Running is synonymous with Gleason’s gay journey.
“When I’m training, it’s almost like meditating, like taking time for yourself every day,” he said. “Most people are like, ‘What? You’re going for a 10-mile run to decompress?’ But for me, I’m so much more calm after I run.”
Provincetown’s second “Feet over Front Street” race — the main throughways in Ptown used to be called “Front Street” and “Back Street” — will take place Sunday, at the start of Carnival Week. The first race attracted about 125 runners, and the same is expected this time around.
Unfortunately, Gleason won’t be able to attend. The Massachusetts native will soon be starting his sophomore year at Tufts University, where he’ll compete on its cross country team.
Tucked inside of Greater Boston, it’s relatively easy to get to the city harbor from Tufts’ campus, and onto the fast ferry.
Running and being gay are two of Gleason’s favorite things. He looks forward to combining them again soon.
“I just thought it was super cool to combine sports with a Pride event,” he said. “Oftentimes, people don’t necessarily associate people being gay with athletics. It was cool to have that opportunity for my first Pride event.”
There promises to be many more to come. Outsports – All Posts Read More

This college runner won a 5K during his 1st trip to Provincetown as an out gay man 

Keegan Gleason came out and won a 5K in Provincetown during the same year. | Photo provided

Keegan Gleason won Provincetown’s inaugural “Feet over Front Street” 5K, and looks forward to many more. Keegan Gleason made a couple of trips to Provincetown before this summer … as a closeted teen wrestling with his sexuality.
It’s safe to say he had a different experience this time around as an out gay man.
Gleason competed in Provincetown’s first “Feet over Front Street” 5K to commemorate the town’s Pride celebrations, and won. Talk about the perfect metaphor.
“It was just more freeing to run out, rather than be so afraid everyone is probably thinking I’m gay,” Gleason told Outsports. “When I went with my friends, I was like, ‘I’m not gay! I’m not gay!’ But this time, I’m very gay.”
Ptown is known for its “very gay” offerings, from drag shows to bacchanalian dance parties. But believe it or not, the gay oasis offers more than hedonism and late-night revelry.
A lot more.
Anybody who’s visited Provincetown has probably seen the scores of runners who spend their early mornings jogging along Commercial Street, taking in the warm salt air and serene beauty.
Last May, Paul Sauceda, who first visited Provincetown 20 years ago, decided to try and bring them together. Sauceda started the Provincetown Runners, which is now affiliated with the International Frontrunners, an LGBTQ running group with outposts in nearly every major U.S. city.

Photo provided
Gleason’s first trip to Ptown as an out gay man was a memorable one.

Twice per week, the group gets together and runs around town. Sauceda says runs during theme weeks can attract as many as 40 people, ranging from their early 20s to 70s.
“I’ve made more friends in the last year and four months since we started this running club than I made in the last 20 years in Ptown,” said Sauceda.
This summer, Sauceda came up with the idea of formalizing a 5K race, but needed help with the logistics. To make it happen, he partnered with the Provincetown Business Guild, which supports the array of boutique and independent businesses that help keep Ptown unique.
“It’s really important to let people know this isn’t just a space where you can come and party,” said Trevor Pittinger, associate director of the business guild. “This is a space where you can come and meditate or exercise or write or look at artwork and center yourself.”

Provincetown Business Guild
Roughly 125 runners competed in the first 5K, which started near gorgeous Herring Cove Beach.

For Gleason, running has always been therapeutic. It allows him the space to sort through his anxiety and think things through, including coming out.
Running is synonymous with Gleason’s gay journey.
“When I’m training, it’s almost like meditating, like taking time for yourself every day,” he said. “Most people are like, ‘What? You’re going for a 10-mile run to decompress?’ But for me, I’m so much more calm after I run.”
Provincetown’s second “Feet over Front Street” race — the main throughways in Ptown used to be called “Front Street” and “Back Street” — will take place Sunday, at the start of Carnival Week. The first race attracted about 125 runners, and the same is expected this time around.
Unfortunately, Gleason won’t be able to attend. The Massachusetts native will soon be starting his sophomore year at Tufts University, where he’ll compete on its cross country team.
Tucked inside of Greater Boston, it’s relatively easy to get to the city harbor from Tufts’ campus, and onto the fast ferry.
Running and being gay are two of Gleason’s favorite things. He looks forward to combining them again soon.
“I just thought it was super cool to combine sports with a Pride event,” he said. “Oftentimes, people don’t necessarily associate people being gay with athletics. It was cool to have that opportunity for my first Pride event.”
There promises to be many more to come. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Baseball played vital role for gay jock turned doc in his coming out

Brad Schaeffer is a lifelong Philadelphia Phillies fan and played baseball through most of college.

Before becoming a successful doctor on a TV show, Brad Schaeffer played baseball as he struggled with discovering his true self. Every kid growing up imagines what their baseball card stats would look like. This Philly kid wanted to throw right, bat right, be a Christian, play for the Phillies and never ever be gay.
Growing up in Pottstown, Pa., a small town outside of Philadelphia, in the 1980s and ‘90s, I played every sport one could imagine, but my life was baseball. Outside of God, baseball was god.
Every night, I would dream of hitting a walk-off home run in the ninth-inning and winning the World Series for the Philadelphia Phillies. My father was my coach, my grandfather was our statskeeper and I felt like the dream of being in the major leagues would someday be a reality.
I wanted to be just like Phillies star Lenny “Nails” Dykstra and outhustle every kid who I played with and against. At the same time that I was a hard-charging jock, I was fighting my internal battles of fulfilling that last line of my imaginary baseball card: Don’t ever, ever be gay.
Being gay definitely was not cool when I was growing up and it seemed every other word out of a kid’s mouth was “that’s gay.” The connotation of gay was always negative, lame and stupid. If you would trip when running to first base, you’re gay. If you struck out, you’re gay.
If you gave another guy a compliment, make sure you say “no homo,” because God forbid we would compliment each other. Athletes were the worst group with this. This is a huge regret of my life because I was not only pushing down my internal struggles with this toxic rhetoric, but I was hurting others who were struggling and looking to me for acceptance. To this day, I never use gay slurs and correct anyone who uses them in my presence.
In 2001, I decided to enroll at Palm Beach Atlantic University, a small Christian school in West Palm Beach, Florida, and joined the baseball team. This was the best of both worlds because I was able to play the sport that I loved and was able to easily hide who I was.
The world of being a Christian athlete allowed me to keep my internal battles where they belonged and was able to “pray the gay away.” These choices led me to meeting a woman who became my wife and to start thinking about a family, which is what any good young straight jock wanted to do. I was I crushing God’s challenges.

Brad Schaeffer played in college for Palm Beach Atlantic University.

During my junior year before the baseball season, I got some pretty symbolic and, at the time, sick ink on my ass: A Phillies tattoo with my wife’s initials, a Christian fish, my baseball #10, and the word HONOR written down the spine! My honor would be tested big time. I was achieving everything I thought God had scripted for me but, internally, I was dealing with so much more.
After our 2004 fall season, I noticed my grades were slipping and my mind was racing faster than I could run around the base paths. I began to realize that I was not going to be a college baseball player any longer and I needed to focus on my grades if I ever wanted to become a doctor. I played for three years in college before hanging up my cleats. Some of my imagined baseball card stats were not shaping out the way I had planned. After all, who was going to play center field for the Phillies if I was going into medicine?
I graduated in 2006 and was accepted to Temple University in Philadelphia. My new wife and I moved into my parents’ basement apartment and I began my medical school journey. This led me to more self-exploration and many professional failures that would really show me what perseverance was. I was failing tests, board exams and, in my mind, possibly life.
My professional failures led me to start dealing with my internal battles. While studying to become a doctor and trying to be the best husband I could be, I was tormented by thoughts such as “Was I gay?” “Is my teacher hot?” “WTF am I looking at and why can’t I adjust like I used to?” After all the years of adjusting to some killer “hooks” or curveballs, this devastating life curveball was rough. And this curveball ended up striking me out.
In 2011, after working my butt off I got into a top-tier residency program in Hoboken, New Jersey, ironically, the birthplace of baseball. Things came to a head when I wound up meeting another married closeted guy in Hoboken and he tried to teach me how he dealt with his two lives and how to compartmentalize both worlds. Maybe, I thought, I was a switch hitter and bisexual and then my updated baseball card would be different. No chance.
After meeting him and trying my best to compartmentalize, I realized that I wasn’t struggling, but searching for life’s answers that were not scripted for me as a straight-acting, Christian, baseball player. Meeting him was like getting struck by lightning.
I wondered why would anyone want to live with these internal battles for the rest of their life. My marriage was struggling and I was not the person I wanted to be. I wasn’t the best husband, son or friend and my life was spiraling out of control.

Brad Schaeffer with his father. He came out to his dad at a Phillies game.

This insight led me to sitting down with my dad at a Phillies game and, after many Bud Lights, telling him that I was gay. I did not fit the stereotype of what society views as a gay man and my father was pretty floored. After a few minutes and a few tears, he showed me nothing but love and understanding.
We talked through everything, had a few more beers and ended up playing catch outside Citizens Bank Park. Just. Like. We. Always. Did. I was working toward internal happiness, not battling my demons and being a better version of my baseball card.
After many tears and conversation, I wanted to change the narrative with not just my family, but with whoever would listen. I did not want acceptance; I wanted understanding. I was born this way and I wish that I didn’t have the struggles of worrying if I was gay, worrying if I was going to Hell, worrying about the jock rhetoric, worrying about my acceptance in my small Christian world.
In the last 10 years, I have become more fully the kind of person I want to be. I am with the same man I met that fateful day in Hoboken. My now ex-wife and I have gone through our own journey and she is my best friend. I have appeared on “The Titan Games” TV competition and currently am one of two doctors featured in the TLC series “My Feet Are Killing Me.”
I figured it was time to knock down these stereotypes and break out of the boxes. I am a gay jock doc and am constantly evolving, and am still a huge Phillies fan. Baseball card stats change every year and so does each year of our lives. I encourage every person I speak with to take time and understand.

Brad Schaeffer was a contestant on “The Titan Games.”

I removed the Phillies/Christian fish tattoo and replaced it with one about equality, while not forgetting my journey or where I came from. My updated baseball card now reads: Bats right, throws right, gay and proud.
Dr. Brad Schaeffer is a board certified foot and ankle surgeon in New York City. He can be seen every week on the TLC show, “My Feet Are Killing Me.” He is also a former collegiate athlete and was a finalist on NBC’s “The Titan Games.” Motivational fitness, health, and well-being continue to be among his passions. He can be reached on Instagram (@doctor.bradley) and on Twitter (@DrBradleyDPM
Story editor: Jim Buzinski
If you are an out LGBTQ person in sports and want to tell your story, email Jim (kandreeky@gmail.com)
Check out our archive of coming out stories.
If you’re an LGBTQ person in sports looking to connect with others in the community, head over to GO! Space to meet and interact with other LGBTQ athletes, or to Equality Coaching Alliance to find other coaches, administrators and other non-athletes in sports. Outsports – All Posts Read More