An Open Letter to LGBTQ+ Athletes

To my LGBTQ+ athletes, I want to say this to you now:

You matter. I don’t care if you are just discovering your identity, if you’ve known since you were seven, if you’ve told everyone, or if you’ve only told your cat. You matter.

People will try to tell you to stay closeted to protect your career. People will try to tell you to come out to be a standard-bearer for the LGBTQ+ community. People will tell you that it’s your responsibility, or that you’re a coward for not “coming out.” People will constantly wonder what they can do to make people come out, as though that is remotely their concern.

Here is the truth: your sexual and gender identity is your business. How, when, and to whom you choose to disclose your identity is your decision. No one is under any obligation to share their personal lives with the public. Being gay or trans or bi doesn’t change that. You have the right to your privacyIt doesn’t make you a coward or weak or indecisive or ashamed. Only you know what is safe and comfortable for you.

You don’t have to come out. You don’t have to stay private. You can walk whatever line you choose. Don’t let people guilt you about your decisions. Your mental, physical, and emotional health is paramount. If you want to be a figurehead for queer rights, if you want to come out on a public stage, then I will be there to support you and cheer you on. If you want to stay quietly in the shadows and enjoy your romantic life in peace, I am here and I support you. I believe in you. You matter, whether you’re marching in Pride, staying home with your partner, or putting off relationships until after your career is over.

And all of you, every single one of you, make me proud. Keep yourselves safe, healthy, and happy.

Love to all,

Jonesy

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