In an OutSports essay 19-year-old Austin Hodges documents his heartbreaking and ultimately triumphant coming out story.
Now a college student at University of Houston, he writes about how athletics (football and track and field in particular) helped him create a surrogate family during high school away from his non-accepting home. With his new created family he managed to succeed and excel in both academics and as an athlete.
One particularly astounding anecdote is when Austin describes playing in a football game and also performing in make-up with the drill team during halftime. He writes:
I would have to say that the best faces to watch were those of the other teams and their parents because they all just realized “the gay kid who wears makeup and does the splits” was kicking their butts on the field — I played both offensive and defensive line — and was going to do it again when halftime was over.
This is a common story that has resonated within the LGBTQ community for decades and unfortunately is still true today. It’s a tale though that’s still needed and extremely relevant.