Advice for a NCAA athlete

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 01, 2011 9:15 PM GMT
    Hey guys. I'm new to RJ, and I'm struck by the candor, quality, and varying pursuits of this online community, entire. I'm a varsity NCAA athlete at a tier 1 liberal-arts college, and enjoy ever-championing an active and intellectual life. From being a TA, to student body President, I'm thriving across campus.

    While not out, yet, I'm confident that I can someday soon shed my repressed attributes. What I'm weary of is accidentally ascribing to common 'gay' norms; while I'm not one to prescribe optimal mores, I wonder why the myth and loudest ethos of gay men often is feminine, even perverse. I anticipate that I'm only going to find gay men at the archetypical gay bars or related events. Already, such institutions underwhelm and intimidate.

    To you confident, happy, out, proud men, how do you balance 'gay' versus 'masculine'? There is no gay manual, I stopped looking for that years ago; nor are there defined truisms that span our community.

    Reflecting, mostly, how do you socialize? In our Grindr/Manhunt moment, I worry that I'm bound by sordid iPhone apps and other websites as I mature and meet other men, typically fleetingly.

    Inversely, great voices now form a chorus of, "it gets better".

    But, how did you make it better for you, and others?

    Thanks for your thoughts...
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    Dec 01, 2011 10:39 PM GMT
    I can definitely understand your point of view and where you're coming from. I, too, was a varsity athlete at a D1 school and didn't come out until my senior year. For me, I just realized I didn't have to do much of a balancing act or change anything about myself to "fit in" for one group over another. I realized I am who I am, and just because I'm gay, that didn't mean I needed to be the grand marshall of the next drag queen parade. My friends on my team and off the team were fine with it, and even if they weren't, I still would have moved on.

    Therefore, after overcoming that hurdle, I met some guys through my many straight friends, and others here through RJ--my best friend is from here, actually. Once you meet some people, hang out again and you meet their friends, and so on; just like making friendships with any straight person. The best thing is to focus on yourself; don't worry about others and making it better for them. It's about you.
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    Dec 01, 2011 10:52 PM GMT
    Just be yourself or however you want to be.

    If you want to sip beer, discuss sports, go hunting, fix cars... do it.

    If you want to obsess over fashion, drink mojitos, sing musicals, arrange flowers... do it.

    If you want to sing musicals, discuss sports, and have a light beer... do it.

    I think sometimes we struggle to find ourselves as gays. I've learned that if I just try and keep my optimism whenever/wherever, i tend to find great guys, all with a variety of interests.

    Everyone complains about gay bars, but if you're a "good guy" and you're at one... don't you think there might at least be one other?

    Anyway, that's sort of a tangent i think. But the only way to make it better for you is to do what makes you happy--and what you think might make others happy. Just be outgoing, and friendly... and when you're nervous, take some spinach, and go at it head-first. Life is a learning experience... gay or straight... go make mistakes, you'll find happiness if you keep trying/learning.

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    Dec 29, 2011 3:00 PM GMT
    I think dreamer really nailed it. But just another couple cents.....

    It may sound silly now but when I was in college (1988-1992), I didn't know anyone gay in school and I went to an incredibly liberal school in New England. And this will sound really, really gay, but when Princess Diana sat down and actually touched - TOUCHED - an AIDS patient, it was revolutionary. That made news. That wasn't that long ago.

    Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I'd guess, I don't know any science and this is just my own thought up nonsense, is that for a long time people felt the need to create the stereotypes to feel part of something bigger because they'd spent so long feeling alone and outcast. That isn't true anymore. Now it is definitely easier to just be you. If you're a flaming queen, be a flaming queen but if you're just a guy who is attracted to guys, you can be that too and no one will care depending where you live. There are certainly some places that have a way to go but you don't sound like you're in that boat.

    So like dreamer said, just be you. You'll find people like you. They're out there doing the same things you're doing. Be proud of who you are, be the best person you can be, be friendly and meet people. You'll be surprised. Maybe the dude in the fourth seat of the skull isn't gay but maybe his awesome big brother is and he'll introduce you.

    Good luck man. Lots of people are pulling for you.