Baseball | College | Sports

Drew University Baseball Player Comes Out as Gay To His Team

Kaplon

Visibility of gay athletes increased one notch further last Sunday as Matt Kaplon, baseball player for and student of Drew University, came out of the closet to his teammates. Inspired by the story of gay NCAA basketball player Derek Schell, Kaplon credits him with saving his life and said of his own coming out,

Everyone tells me that college is supposed to be the best four years of my life. I've had a great time, but for three and a half of them, I've been hiding things and not being the real me. Building friendships and meeting people and with my teammates, they know part of me but I finally feel like I want them to know everything. I want to be me 100% and make sure they know I'm not hiding anything. I'm ready for that. I'm ready to start not having to hide.

Kaplon was welcomed warmly by his team and congratulated on his decision to come out. Even his coach, Brian Hirschberg, was proud of him.

He's as close to a family member as anyone I've ever coached. He's like a younger brother to me. When Matt shared his story with me, I respected him more, if that's even possible.

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Comments

  1. Jack Burkman probably needs to write up some legislation to stop this!

    Posted by: Craig | Mar 1, 2014 7:35:22 PM


  2. Such a beautiful story. It really illustrates how the movement is building off of itself, and how we as a community are there for one-another.

    Posted by: Stefan | Mar 1, 2014 8:11:51 PM


  3. I can't believe I've lived long enough to read a story like this. It's wonderful.

    Posted by: Mort | Mar 1, 2014 8:33:50 PM


  4. Don't get me wrong, it is admirable that this young man came out. But look at him: he is young, masculine and good looking, participates in sports and thereby falls along all the norms "acceptable men" are supposed to be in our society but just happens to be gay. Other than his internal anguish, he was, in all likelihood, under the radar and was able to carry on in public and among his fellow schoolmates with no problem. Once again, the fact that he came out is admirable. But now think of the young men who cannot help but lisp, struggle to keep their "mannerisms" in check and get bullied, beaten and killed in school and in public. Now think of the courage these second group of young men have to have to wake up every morning and face the world everyday. Therefore, I ask you that before we all swoon over the coming out of these "brave" athlete types, to give kudos to the brave "sissy" types who have no way of hiding from who they really are. And lets not forget that it is the brave "sissy" types who paved and still are paving the way with their blood, tears and, in many cases, with their lives the whole gay movement because they do not have the choice to be considered "otherwise".

    Posted by: Excuse Me! | Mar 1, 2014 9:58:54 PM


  5. EXCUSE ME! - I'm not disagreeing with you at all about those who are not able to "hide" being gay as easily. They truly have to fight the battle daily. But what in this story or in the comments made you feel the need to post this?

    In my opinion, all visibility is important. Whether it's the 'masc' gay guy playing sports that can 'hide' (i hate both of those words, but whatever), or it's the stereotypical femme guy who is forced to deal with every day. All of these guys are in our community. Being out and honest - regardless of perceived sexuality - is brave no matter what.

    I applaud all LGBTs who come out. Even if everyone else around them says "of course"

    (also, I know some genuinely straight guys who exhibit these same characteristics you mention and they deal with the same issues. That problem is society's perception of masculinity)

    Posted by: gabriel | Mar 1, 2014 10:05:18 PM


  6. @ Gabriel: Perhaps my passion has made my previous entry perplexing. It is just that, from my perspective at least, gay visibility and idealization has shifted more towards the "not fem, not fat, straight appearing, straight acting(whatever that means)" type. I just want to put in here, before someone jumps up calling me bitter and what not, that I have a man whom I love and we are on our 12th year of relationship. Now back to the subject we were discussing: ) I, like you, wanted to point out that we are in this together and all among us deserve the same recognition in our ongoing struggle.

    Posted by: Excuse Me! | Mar 1, 2014 10:46:01 PM


  7. Masculine men are the majority. Effeminate men, straight or gay - are NOT. Stop trying to paint gay men as freaking sissies. WE ARE NOT.

    I'm openly gay, like I'm supposed to be, but I really am tired of gender politics ruining the gay rights struggle. Wanna wear dresses and heals ( you crypto mysogynist) - stop pretending that has anything to do with your sexual orientation...Even my own mother hates heals.

    Drag = female oPpression. There I sAID IT.

    Posted by: Mhm | Mar 1, 2014 11:05:53 PM


  8. 1. He waited until he was ready to graduate until he did it. He'll be gone from the school soon. If he had come out his first year of college, that would have been a lot more brave.

    2. He's being way over-dramatic. No one asked him to "hide" who he really is.

    3. No one asked him to come out to his team. Everything he says above is "me, me, me."

    Posted by: You are right Mr. Excuse Me! | Mar 1, 2014 11:09:27 PM


  9. All the queen bitter effimente gays will always hate masc gay guys. It's their sickness and it's pretty hypocritical. Look at the commenter above me, the wretch - he really should be gay bashed.

    Posted by: Mhm | Mar 1, 2014 11:12:00 PM


  10. @MHM,

    Just like every other gay guy who bitches about femme men, it's a safe bet you and your femme ways can be spotted a mile away.

    @Excuse me,

    Totally agree with you. Great. This guy was able to hide who he was. Made it through high school and into college without having to "come out". While it's great he decided to come out, there is that group of gay male youth that have no choice, the ones who get bullied, the ones who commit suicide. There is extensive, long lasting damage to these kids and it doesn't help people like MHM want to throw these types of guys back in the closet.

    Posted by: Michael | Mar 1, 2014 11:24:55 PM


  11. @Michael aka excuse me

    Amirite?

    Posted by: Mhm | Mar 1, 2014 11:30:34 PM


  12. @MHM,

    Umm...

    Why should I be gay-bashed for having an opinion? Kids have been coming out in high school since the 1980's (and before) and there have been gay support groups in most colleges since the 1990s.

    It's kind of scary that you advocate violence against other gays.

    Posted by: You are right Mr. Excuse Me! | Mar 1, 2014 11:32:07 PM


  13. You should be bashed for criticizing a man over your own failings.

    Posted by: Mhm | Mar 1, 2014 11:33:29 PM


  14. @MHM,

    You have no idea if I'm a gay man. I stated facts and you haven't been able to argue one of them. That's where you FAILED.

    Posted by: You are right Mr. Excuse Me! | Mar 1, 2014 11:38:03 PM


  15. You haven't stated facts you nelly gay queer. All you did was list why other gay men should dislike this baseball player - and for what?

    Get real.

    Posted by: Mhm | Mar 1, 2014 11:42:50 PM


  16. @MHM,

    You're sick and you really need help.

    I'm being totally serious here. This isn't funny anymore. There's something wrong with you.

    Posted by: You are right Mr. Excuse Me! | Mar 1, 2014 11:52:20 PM


  17. Actually you're sick for criticizing when a gay man comes out. You are the perverse idiot. All your previous posts indicate a certain amount of antipathy and jealousy. Why do you hate gay men? What is YOUR problem?

    Posted by: Mhm | Mar 1, 2014 11:55:09 PM


  18. LOL @ MHM: Isn't she being cute trying desperately to act all butch! Listen dear, your slip is showing. Take our advice and quit overcompensating--we can see your insecurities a mile away. Now be a dear, put on your face and your prettiest dress and lip sync for us like the drag queen you really are. Now let's see if we can guess your drag name--MHM? Is it Miss Hardly Manly?

    Posted by: Excuse Me! | Mar 2, 2014 12:44:57 AM


  19. Good for him. I wish the best.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Mar 2, 2014 3:58:14 AM


  20. Absolutely, the kids who don't fit in and can't fit in and proudly stand up and say that they don't intend to even try to fit in and that there's nothing wrong with that are heroes. And in a lot of ways, they have always and will continue to change the world.

    But that shouldn't invalidate the very real but different kind of courage it takes to come out when you can hide, and under circumstances where continuing to hide is a real choice.

    Nor should it minimize the practical effect it has on people who hate, fear, and put down gay people precisely because they see gay people as different from them, when someone they see as "just like them" comes out.

    We need our drag queens AND our sports jocks, our interior designers AND our Marines, our bears AND our bodybuilders.

    Yes, the overweight, shy drama club math geek who comes out won't get national attention for it, and that takes one very real kind of courage. But this kid DID just go national, with all of the opportunities for people he's never even met to judge him publicly and attack him for it, and that takes another very real kind of courage.

    We need to support both.

    Posted by: Lymis | Mar 2, 2014 7:57:15 AM


  21. I love guys who are the way they are and make no apologies for it. THAT is what is sexy, whether it's a skinny fem dude or a fake-macho gym-bunny or somebody like my bf who's a general contractor who can operate a jackhammer and a sewing machine with equal facility.

    A lot of the people posting here expose only their own self-hatred when they discuss this issue.

    I'll say it yet again: nobody hates gay men like gay men.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Mar 2, 2014 9:48:15 AM


  22. Which Drew University? The location should be in the summary.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 2, 2014 11:09:00 AM


  23. Why so much animosity directed at a young man for coming out? He probably helped thousands of struggling young gay kids feel better about themselves. Good for him.

    Posted by: Jason Macbride | Mar 2, 2014 11:22:21 AM


  24. excuse me - Lisping is a speech impediment, not an affect of gay male fem affect.

    Posted by: enchantra | Mar 2, 2014 11:58:33 AM


  25. As a "butch" gay.. I'd like to reiterate something I told a group of people, not too long ago...

    The fem gays are getting praised for their bravery, more and more, for coming out nowadays. Which, is FABULOUS!! (No, really, it's great, and I love it!)

    But what really sucks is.. growing up gay, in Texas, in the 70s, in a religious (Southern Baptist) home... hearing from friends and family alike, just how disgusting "fags" are, and how "deserving" they are of eternal damnation... because they are salvageable deviates. Only to fight against that.. regardless of the fact they had no idea they were talking about, YOU. To then actually come out at the age of 15, be degraded by your family, as you knew you would... but then be harangued by the gay community, too... because you aren't the right *kind* of gay. You are "repressing" yourself, if you are "butch" ... you're an "internalized homophobe" because you aren't prissy.. don't do fashion *anything* .. aren't into show tunes, or drag queens. No, I'd rather go camping in the woods than take a shopping trip to the mall. I'd rather watch horror flicks, than Drag Race. I'd rather watch football, or rugby over - Dancing with the Stars, or Figure Skating.

    I'd just like to point out, for all of the effeminate gay men out there that were told by their parents to "put down the Barbie, and pick up a football" ~ as traumatic as that is to them, the same can be said for me, and those like me, that are told by the gay community that is *supposed* to be supportive of "diversity", that we are wrong, hiding our "true selves" or the utmost... an internalized homophobe...

    Get it together guys! I'm gay because I *love* men, find them sexy, and want to do dirty, dirty things in my bed with them... Shopping, effeminacy, and screaming "Hey GURL" ... doesn't.

    We ALL need the support of the community, our girlie brothers, our tomboy sisters.. and the Jock, and the Lipstick... We're all in this together. We *ALL* are attacked for who we love. We need to not be the ones doing the attacking, too...

    Peace

    Posted by: theotherlee | Mar 2, 2014 12:32:12 PM


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