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Athlete apologizes to bi track athlete for 'gay' remark, shows power of coming out

SB Nation logoSB Nation 4/04/2016 Jim Buzinski
David Gilbert © From "Fearless" by Jeff Sheng David Gilbert College runner David Gilbert sees how his coming out has had an impact.

Here's a nice little story that shows again the power of coming out.

David Gilbert, a runner on the Lewis-Clark State College track and field team in Idaho, is openly bi. Recently, in the team's training room, Gilbert's teammate Nolan Ryan made a joke as the two were goofing around.

"We were shouting negative, mean but funny jokes at each other," Gilbert said. "One of the jokes included the word 'gay,' not even referring to me but just in the joke. To be honest, I had thought I had heard him, but it didn't cross my mind because it's something guys say a lot. Which is kind of sad because I know it offends a lot of people very much."

Gilbert didn't think much about it but an hour later got this text from Ryan:

"Hey I wanted to apologize. I said gay in the training room in a negative way in front of you and I'm sorry, dawg. I wasn't thinking."

The exchange showed Gilbert the impact his coming out had on some of his teammates and he credited Ryan with being a big help. "Since I've came out he has really pushed me to be comfortable with myself," Gilbert said. "Even when I came out I still felt the need to hide it because I had hidden it for so long, but he has really encouraged me to be myself. He prays for people to accept me, he hates religions that are against LGBT people and also asks me all the time about my love life and how things in general are going with coming out."

I bet that had Ryan not known he had an out teammate, he wouldn't have thought twice about telling a "gay" joke. To Gilbert, it shows he made the right decision when he came out, despite his fierce religious upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness.

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