Coming Out To Play- Life Lessons The World Can learn From Robbie Rogers

It is not every day that someone steps away from a flourishing career risks his reputation and courts rejection- all for a greater good. It even becomes harder to do so when you know that your immediate family and friends might spend the rest of their lives hating you for it. But what can a man do when he has to face his own demons, but his secrets are suffocating him? Or rather, what can you do to stop living a lie and step out of your little closet?

There are few things we all universally yearn for: love, acceptance and self-confidence. But when you're a world-class athlete, at the brink of a waning career and with a raging internal storm, they are many things you can do, the last being coming out publicly as gay. And I'm not saying this because I have anything against gay men, but because the world typically views same-sex relationships through the prism of ignorance and religious double-standards. Nevertheless, Robbie Rogers braved the storm and made history when he stood up for his sexuality in the noblest of ways. He didn't vent out bitterly, neither did he plead for people's acceptance. Heck, he didn't even bother to explain himself (what was there to explain anyway?). He simply faced the cameras with a straight face and said he is gay, deal with it.

In a world that tries to impose standards on each and every aspect of our lives, there are some crucial life lessons we can learn from him, especially the 20-something youth.

  1. Learn to see the bigger picture.

    There was an immense chance that Robbie's career would have gone under as soon as the cameras started rolling with the word 'gay' next to his name. I mean, let's face, coming out as gay is one thing but playing in an extremely male dominated game like soccer at the same time is quite another story. But Robbie Rogers proved his critics wrong when the world literally gave him a pat on his shoulder and said, "It's OK to be a little different, no one is judging you."
  2. Seek self-acceptance first, and the world will gravitate towards you.

    In his memoirs, " Coming Out To Play," Robbie recounts how he had a rough time coming to terms with his sexuality when growing up in an otherwise heteronormative culture. For starters, he was a professional soccer player- a testosterone driven game. Secondly, Robbie was already a role model for thousands of young Americans who aspired to be like him when they grew up. How could he just throw all that away? All in one day?

    However, part of the reason the world accepted him for who he is, can be traced back to the self-acceptance he exuded when he made his famous press conference. Robbie didn't 'over-explain' himself nor was he curt and arrogant. He just stated it like it was very normal- but come to think of it, it is exactly that!

    Recently, Barack Obama acknowledged Robbie's courage to break a barrier and publicly declare what he is.
Robbie coming out

  1. Once you cross a bridge, go back and help others cross it.

    After he handling gallantly all the flair that came with his controversial announcement, Robbie Rogers went a step further and joined the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, whose chief aim is to help people accept their sexuality and the related modern persecution.