Jaden Vazquez is a junior at Fordham University, where he plays linebacker on the school’s football team. He also co-leads a new student athlete support group, working specifically with his LGBTQ peers.
Last October, he came out to his teammates in a video posted to Instagram. The video shows him literally stepping out of his bedroom closet and includes the caption: “As you can see it’s not easy for me to come out of the closet but here it is! I’m bisexual and I’m proud of who I am. Thank you to everyone who has ever supported me. I’ve struggled my entire life with self identity and I have finally found the strength to come out. Hope you enjoy the video.”
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As you can see it's not easy for me to come out of the closet but here it is! ??? Im bisexual and im proud of who I am. Thank you to everyone who has ever supported me. I've struggled my entire life with self identity and I have finally found the strength to come out. Hope you enjoy the video ???
Looking back nearly a year later, Vazquez tells Outsports, “I’ve been pretty surprised to have zero negative reactions. A lot of people do get negative reactions when they come out, and that’s one thing I’m very fortunate about. My family is very open and loving and supporting, and my teammates are very open.”
Vazquez adds that everyone from his family to his teammates to his coaches were nothing but supportive.
“In football we do everything together,” he says. “You build strong bonds with people you struggle with every day through practice. And it creates the bond of family. At that point it doesn’t mater who the guy next to you is–his sexual orientation, his religion–you know the guy next to you has your back.”
Since coming out, Vazquez has taken a leadership role with Fordham Connect, a student athlete support network that works to “erase the stigma around vulnerability and mental health in sport.” He works primarily with other LGBTQ students.
“We’re trying to have a safe space to talk about those things,” he says. “We know these are topics that are not really brought up in sports, because there’s this idea that you just play a sport. But the athletes are more than just athletes.”
Scroll down for more pics from Vazquez’s Instagram page…