Coming out


Jordan Bancroft being held by her teamates after a race.

In the study “Out On The Fields” nearly 9,500 athletes spoke about their experiences with homophobia in the sports community. This study showed that 72 percent of lesbians under the age of 22, do not come out to their teammates.

In West Linn, sports play a huge part in the lives of teenagers, whether it be football, dance, lacrosse or rowing no matter where the game plays, people from all walks of life come to encourage their favorite players and teams.

Riley Kawanesikayuga, Junior, has been involved in roller derby for two years now. Kawanesikayuga came out as a lesbian freshman year, “That process didn’t go great, but my teammates and the people that I bonded with in derby helped me through that.”

Kawanesikayuga has tried many sports, but roller derby, in particular, had a very inclusive culture to it, “Roller derby is a very LGBT inclusive sport. I don’t know where but I remember seeing a study somewhere that said 65 to 70% of people who play the sport are apart of the LGBT community in some way. It was fascinating for me to hear that  I’m with people like me.”

The coxswain of the men’s varsity rowing team is a young woman named Jordan Bancroft, Senior. The coxswain is the person who is in charge and steers the boat. Bancroft identifies as bisexual and says she never really came out to her teammates in the traditional sense but she is very open about her sexuality and some of her teammates know that she had a girlfriend when she joined the team.

“The ones that are my friends, were supportive and everything. Everyone else didn’t care.” Bancroft said. While her coming out experience with her team was blissfully uneventful for the most part, she endured some discomfort. “It’s just the culture of making gay jokes and otherwise offensive jokes. I tried to stop it when I heard it, but there is only so much you can do without them hating you for sucking the ‘fun’ out of life”.

When Morgan Anderson, Senior joined the Debutantes, her sexuality never caused any problems. “The girls on the Debs are amazing people, we are a team of 20 girls, and we don’t agree on everything, but that comes with the territory”. Morgan is comfortable with her teammates, enough to open up to them about her experience with coming out. “I am open about my sexuality, and the girls pass zero judgments. They show love for everyone on our team no matter what. It was a bit awkward at first, but with time everyone just new and no one really cared. My coming out didn’t change my relationship with my teammates.”

These stories are a small fraction of those that are out there. Keala Kennelly recently gave a moving speech after becoming surfing’s first ever openly gay world champion. But these experiences do not outweigh the 83 percent of gay men and women who have been the victim of homophobia and the use of homophobic slurs in their sport.