A new first-person article in OutSports provides stark evidence the world of 'coming out' hasn't changed, and probably never will. 

It's a good news story — University of Tennessee MBA student Colin Christiansen has found acceptance at every turn in Knoxville — but just the same, it recounts in Christiansen's own voice the struggle he faced since high school through today.

Throughout my four years in high school I quickly changed from an outgoing kid who always wanted to be in the spotlight, to someone who would rather spend time alone then hang out with friends. I felt that I didn’t belong. 

He writes that his unique ability to throw a softball well, and the independent training he engaged in throughout high school, led him to a college where he excelled as an athlete, and also kept his mind occupied, allowing him to avoid dealing with his internalized issues with sexuality — though he acknowledges he was not always successsful.

I would pick fights with friends for no reason and I would overreact to things that shouldn’t matter that much. 

Sound familiar? Christiansen landed at UT-Knoxville in order to earn an MBA and is also a Graduate Assistant with the Division I Softball program. He recounts the moment he came out to his new friends in Tennessee.

They continued to ask questions, such as whether I was interested in anyone in Knoxville. I took a chance and told them no I hadn’t and that I wasn’t sure if they knew but I was gay. I had no idea what was going to come next. They simply responded with, “Oh that’s awesome!” This reassured me that the times are changing. It doesn’t matter where we are in the world. I can always be true to myself.

More importantly, he evolved internally. He discovered that coming out isn't about just exposing yourself to the world and opening yourself to their judgment. It's about acknowledging the role that sexuality plays in the development of an individual and celebrating the ways that every facet of one's life can influence ourselves and the world.

I believe that being gay is the best part about me and it should be celebrated. It is what makes me who I am. It influences me to be kind, caring, and compassionate — traits that I don’t believe I would otherwise possess. So no, being gay does not “define me”, but yeah, it kind of does.

Read the entire article here.

 

 

 

 

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