According to Out Sports, a gay high school football player and cheerleader experienced acceptance from everyone in his school — but not from his parents.
“Despite growing up as a gay person in conservative Texas, I was embraced by my school and teammates on various sports,” Austin Hodges, who wrote in his essay. “I can’t say the same for my family, my home life or my community.”
When his parents found a love letter he wrote to his first boyfriend as a freshman at Anahuac High School, they reacted violently.
“As soon as I walked into the house,” Hodges wrote, “my dad started yelling at me and saying many hurtful things that are just too hard to even type. My mom was screaming as well, saying it was ‘my choice’ to be that way. As she saying this, she grabbed my hand and said just as it would also be my choice to not let her burn my hand on the hot stove as she was pressing it closer and closer.”
After the incident with his parents, he decided to come out at school. During sex ed, his biology teacher asked him how he would prevent a girl from getting pregnant, to which he replied “I’m GAY so I don’t have to worry about that.”
The teacher, and the rest of the school, responded positively to Hodges. He continued playing football, but also joined the school’s drill team (essentially a cheerleading dance squad), and would perform with them during halftime before going back out on the field to play ball.
He went on to graduate and is starting his sophomore year at the University of Houston this fall.
You can read Hodges’ entire first-person account of his extraordinary high school years via Out Sports.