My name is Eric. I'm a 2nd year English major here at the University of Texas. I am in Peers for Pride because I wanted to learn more about the LGBTQ community and grow as an individual within it. I must say it has been difficult at times, but I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything. Not only do I have a wonderful mentor (Shane), but I also have a fantastic group of friends that I become closer and closer with everyday.
So, now that introductions are out of the way, I would like to introduce you to the topic that I will be blogging about today:
The main point of the story is that a freshman kicker at Willamette University has recently come out as bisexual, and he is also the first active college player to come out as being a part of the LGBTQ spectrum. This article caught my attention for several reasons.
1). You, reader, may or may not be aware that the Peers for Pride cohorts perform monologues to facilitate conversation on campus. In my monologue, collegiate sports is an important part of my character and the issues he is facing.
2.) I believe LGBTQ visibility within sports is important because it helps bring awareness of the LGBTQ community to a very heterosexual and masculine world. I grew up with my high school classmates on a football team that constantly made jokes about being "gay." The comments they said were laced with homophobia. Part of the reason that I dropped out of playing football was because I did not feel "man" enough to play the game. The kicker, Conner Mertens, is a positive roll model for LGBTQ youth because he shows that LGBTQ people capable of succeeding in areas where they are not typically found; he may very well inspire a whole new generation of LGBTQ sports players. It is my hope that the ever increasing visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and queer folk in all facets of the world will allow us to have more and more conversations and bring about positive changes in the world around us.
3.) I am really disgusted by some of the comments following the article. There was one person in particular who was attacking Mertens' bisexual identity because he said he liked dudes, but made no mention about liking girls. This commenter touted that Mertens was not bisexual, but gay, and went on further to say that Mertens should not step half-way out of the closet just to see if it was safe. Comments like these show the prominence of bisexual invisibility (where people believe you can only like one sex or the other) and biphobia. I think these comments also bring up the necessity to say that individuals for themselves, and themselves only, decide their identities; no one else can.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know me, and I look forward to writing to again soon dear reader.