Robbie Rogers Speaks About His Experiences As a Gay Athlete
At last Robbie Rogers has come out in the open to discuss his experiences as a gay soccer star. According to Today, Rogers beat all odds back in 2013 when he admitted to being gay.
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The confession left eyebrows raised because people were hearing about it for the first time. In an interview with Today, the star said there are so many players who are gay only that they do not want to admit for fear of being stigmatized. The star was being interviewed by Maria Shriver where he explained the difficulties that are faced by gays who do not want people to know about their sexual orientation.
Rogers has actually authored a book titled Coming Out to Play. The star has killer looks and perhaps that is why many people are fond of him. However, the nature of sports could not allow him to be himself because he had to conform to expectations of the society. He particularly felt odd when his team mates discussed women and sex because he did not feel comfortable talking about something that he had not experienced.
He was determined to keep his status a secret because he feared being rejected by his team mates. "I heard, 'Don't pass the ball like a faggot,’" he told Shriver. "[It] made me think, well, I'm never coming out and playing this sport, because when they find out, they're not going to want to be my coach, or I'm not going to be able to play soccer anymore."
Things did not change when he graduated from college and went ahead to pursue his dream in soccer. He just had to tell lies just to save himself. Though he looked normal from the outside, the lies were killing him slowly. "Someone would ask me a question and I'd be like, 'Oh gosh, I gotta lie about this.' And then I would go to the extremes of like, dating girls and, you know, sleeping with girls. When you have to hide that much and lie about [it], it creates this monster inside you."
Rogers said that it is only in his mid 20s that he was bold enough to get into a relationship with Greg Berlanti and disclosed it to his parents and siblings. Contrary to his expectations, they appreciated him for who he was which made him feel complete. "From the moment I told my sisters and my mom and my dad, they told me, 'We love you so much. This doesn't change anything for us, and you were created this way," Rogers said.
Being a sports person, Rogers felt like an outcast which in return scared the hell out of him. He later left soccer to campaign for gay rights through organizations such as Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). He traveled to different parts of US just to inspire young boys and girls who are gay. It is then that he realized he could use his talent in soccer to create awareness for gay people. "I realized just by playing again on a soccer field, there's a symbol right there that can encourage and give people hope," he told Shriver.
After being away for quite a while, Rogers was lucky to get a contract with LA Galaxy in 2013. Funny enough, his team mates said they are happy to play with him. "Robbie's a good soccer player, you want him on the team, simple as that," said his teammate A. J. DeLaGarza. "He's a soccer player first and foremost, who happens to be gay," agreed Galaxy goalie Brian Rowe.
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Rogers said that he authored his book in an attempt to reach out to other gay players. However, none of them has communicated with him. He advised coaches to be cautious in how they deal with players because some of them could be like him. "I would tell coaches, 'You probably have a gay player,'" he said. "Be aware of what you're saying and what you're putting in their minds, because from a very young age, that stuff will stay with them."