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College Basketball Player Was Raised Mormon, Is Now Gay And Happy

jam2_mediumTaking the lead from Jason Collins and Robbie Rogers, Jallen Messersmith appears to have become the first active college basketball player to come out as gay. The Benedictine College Ravens forward has revealed how he overcame bullying so intense he had to be home-schooled but is now comfortable enough with his sexual orientation that he introduces male dates to his adoring teammates.

The 6-8, 215-pound athlete reached out to OutSports prior to NBA star Collins coming out publicly in a Sports Illustrated profile.

Although Messersmith has received support from his Mormon family, he left the church in which he was raised, recalling church leaders constantly disparaging gay people during his years in it.

“Going to church, all I heard was ‘this is bad, this is bad, this is bad,'” Messersmith said. “When I heard stuff like that, all I did was try to get away from it.”

What Messersmith had trouble escaping was the relentless bullying he was subjected to as a pre-teen.

“Growing up, I was always picked on,” he revealed. “I seldom had a guy friend growing up. I was lonely and didn’t have any super-close friends. Some days I would go to my room and just cry about it. It was something I kept to myself.”

Eventually, his mother learned about the abuse. She home-schooled her son for two years until he entered high school. Unlike many gay teens, who flee from homophobic locker rooms for more individual sports, Messersmith sought refuge in team sports.

“The people making fun of me pushed me into basketball further and made me want to be the best at basketball and get somewhere with myself,” he said. “After my sophomore year, I didn’t care what people thought. I grew stronger because of it and it rolls off my back now.”

As a shot blocking and rebounding force for Benedictine College, a liberal arts Catholic school in Atchison, Kansas, Messersmith has helped lead the Ravens to an 18-12 record, ranking it fourth in his division.

Messersmith says he now feels comfortable introducing his boyfriends to his fellow Ravens.

jam1.0_standard_500.0“I would hug them and then I would get grilled by my teammates after,” Messersmith said. “We would have locker room conversations and they would talk to me about guys just like they would talk about girls to each other.”

Apart from some good-natured ribbing from his fellow players, Messersmith joked that they might be even be a bit jealous of his “scoring” off the court, adding: “I’ve definitely gone on more dates than most of the guys combined.”

Photos: OutSports

By:           JEREMY KINSER
On:           May 28, 2013
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 17 Comments
    • Mr. E. Jones
      Mr. E. Jones

      May I be the first to say this is a lovely story.

      And that boy is hot!

      May 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kieran
      Kieran

      See I knew this would happen. Once it starts becoming acceptable to be a masculine athlete and gay and you obliterate the effeminate gay stereotypes and take away the shame of being gay, half the boys in America will start coming out gay!!!! Is that what we want?

      May 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tookietookie
      tookietookie

      Hi armpit hair = yeah.

      His leaving Mormonism – yeah.

      The weird integrationist thing = stinkeye.

      May 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tookietookie
      tookietookie

      Hi armpit hair = yeah.

      His leaving Mormonism – yeah.

      The weird integrationist thing = stinkeye.

      If we can’t bring all our brother along, we can’t get along.

      May 28, 2013 at 8:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnMc888
      JohnMc888

      In my Catholic high school in the early 60s being a gay student was no big deal. You just rolled with it. The students really were nice, even though it was a Manhattan, NY school, where young people allegedly are not nice. We were nice, but could be very funny, very sharp tongued, but moire for play than malice.

      May 28, 2013 at 11:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cagnazzo82
      Cagnazzo82

      @JohnMc888:

      I went to a catholic school in NJ in the late 90s and the experience couldn’t be any more polar opposite.

      Back then there wasn’t even 1 single out student in the entire school. Not one.

      And anyone who was even perceived as gay was bullied.

      There were definitely gay kids there though floating under the radar. I should know… I was one of them :)

      May 29, 2013 at 12:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MickeyP.
      MickeyP.

      @Kieran: Yup,but just the REAL gay ones! People don’t jump on a gay bandwagon. They are just encouraged to be themselves.I doubt people who aren’t truly gay are going to say they are! I had to laugh at “half the boys” will come out as gay! You really don’t know much,do you?

      May 29, 2013 at 12:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      Thank you Queerty for not editing out the part where he talks about how horrible the church was to him.

      Is this a new direction or is this just a cover for the 5 or 6 pro-Mormon stories you may be planning to write? Guess it’s a wait and see.

      Congratulations to Jallen on getting out of that mess and to his mother for being the kind of woman that would ignore the church’s dictates to throw her gay son to the wolves. Best of luck to both!

      May 29, 2013 at 9:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pete
      Pete

      The Mormons seem to be making an effort to reach-out to the GLBT community in a way that neither Fundamentalists nor Catholics have.

      May 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pete
      Pete

      @JohnMc888:

      Sounds like you went to the highly selective, all-scholarship, Regis on the UES, which admitting only the best and brightest would have to reconcile itself to a larger portion of gay students (several of whom I’m sure went on to take Holy Orders).

      Never forget Scalia went to Xavier. Probably has never gotten over not getting into Regis.

      May 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Pete:

      No, actually the Mormons are doing PR but not changing anything within the church. That website that Queerty keeps talking about? The Mormons are going around saying “Isn’t it wonderful, we are reaching out to gays”.

      What they don’t say is….oh, we are still telling gays that they are sinners, shouldn’t be allowed to get married, to be teachers, to be scout leaders, adopt kids etc… but now we tell them on this pretty new website.

      If a gay basher is wearing a nice outfit when he attacks you, it doesn’t make the attack any different.

      May 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • QueerLib
      QueerLib

      Guys like Messersmith are the truest heroes. When you persevere to the extent that Messersmith has against such horrific surroundings nothing but admiration and awe exist. Add to his courage his incredible good lucks and down-to-earth manner of speaking and, well, we have the constant reminder that being lgb and/or transgender and proud is simply beautiful.

      May 29, 2013 at 9:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billysees
      Billysees

      I wonder that if a Gay teacher in a catholic school was fired because the school’s religious
      teachings couldn’t allow such a situation, could the same principles apply to a Gay
      basketball player on a catholic school’s athletic team ?

      May 30, 2013 at 2:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dxley
      Dxley

      That guy is damn fine. He can “score” me anytime he feels like it. He looks so damn delicious but I swear I won’t eat him(I hope)…

      May 30, 2013 at 8:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • pscheck2
      pscheck2

      iT’S NOT CLEAR TO ME WHY HE WAS BULLIED IN GRADE SCHOOL? wAS HE EFFETE (OR GIRLY) OR WHAT? rEASON i ASK IS THAT HE APPEARS TO BE ONE FINE HUNK AND WOULD BE TOO IMPOSING A FIGURE TO MESS WITH! aside FROM THAT, i WOULD BE MORE IMPRESSED IF THOSE NFL ICONS WOULD COME OUT OF THEIR COLLECTIVE CLOSETS (EVEN THE MARRIED ONES OR “BEARDED” ONES)! NOW, THAT WOULD BE EARTH SHATTERING AND ALL THOSE STR8 YAHOOS WOULD DROWN THEMSELVES IN THEIR 6 PACKS! (HE!,HE!)

      May 30, 2013 at 7:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • balehead
      balehead

      Masculine Gay is where it’s at…….

      Jun 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • balehead
      balehead

      He’s a real hero…..he didn’t have to Youtube or ask Lady Gag Gag for help….

      Jun 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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