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Where Are You Not “Coming Out?”

The Way of the Warrior

In a nation with one foot firmly planted in traditional values, the US has the other confidently stepping forward into the future of human rights. Marriage equality is becoming much less taboo and acceptance is becoming the standard. Unfortunately, today’s professional sports “locker room” culture has yet to catch up to the rest of the country.

Much has been made of NFL draft prospect and Missouri defensive end Michael Sam coming out as a gay man this week. In a very male, macho dominated field, many players, scouts and coaches voiced concern that in a “man’s man” sport, Michael’s announcement may affect his prospects as a top pick or even being picked at all. But despite all the narrow, antiquated speculation, what Michael Sam’s announcement actually does is expand people’s definition of what it means to be gay.

To be gay doesn’t mean to be weak, nerdy, or effeminate. To be gay is to be powerful, strong, a warrior. There are no criteria of what it means to be gay just as there’s no checklist of stereotypical traits to be heterosexual. Michael Sam is a muscular, burley football player who is determined to hit hard, sack the QB, and win the game the same as any of his teammates. He shows courage, strength, and commitment on the field the same as any other player – maybe more so now than ever.

Michael’s story serves a powerful example to all because it celebrates the courage to be authentic, own the places where we’re different, and be the magnificent beings we are. Our truth illuminates our hidden shame and shines a spotlight on our perfection. Michael came out as a gay, young African American, football player – a modern day gladiator proud, transparent, and strong. His example gives us all a profound opportunity. Where are you ashamed, dishonest, or yet to come out of the closet in your own life? 

When you are being authentic, you’re actually coming out as yourself. You’re exposing all you’ve kept locked away. You’ve been hiding for fear of not being accepted. And it extends way beyond sexuality. Your secret could be, “I hate my job”, “I’m only in graduate school because my parents want me to be”, or “I’m trapped in a loveless marriage.” No matter the contents of your closet, it’s fear that’s keeping you trapped inside and distanced from your soul signature.

When Michael Sam finally shared his secret, he did so with class. “I didn’t realize how many people actually knew and I was afraid someone would leak something out about me,” he stated. “I want to own my truth. No one else should tell my story but me.”

Own your truth and tell your story. It’s time to shift your energy from fear to freedom. It’s time to embrace your unique soul signature. And that is not a sign of weakness.

It’s the sign of a warrior.