Coming Out To Play- Life Lessons The World Can learn From Robbie
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
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."
Seek self-acceptance first, and the world will gravitate
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!
Obama acknowledged Robbie's courage to break a barrier and
publicly declare what he is.
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.