checking in

Greg Congdon’s Horrible High School Outing Nearly Cost Him His Life. How Is He 13 Years Later?

Greg Congdon, the now-former northern Pennsylvania high school athlete who was ostracized and bullied by wrestling and football teammates and coaches after being outed in 1998, but embraced and celebrated by the gay community as an overnight out teen athlete, says that when he disappeared from public life in 2004 after the pressure and attention became too much, he “would drink a liter [of rum] a night” to cope with his bitterness. “I never expected to be a spokesman,” he tells Outsports in his first interview in nine years. “Everything happened too fast. I never had time to sit down and just think about it all. And when I did sit down to think about, that’s when the bitterness came. And then I was getting e-mails from teens who were going through similar situations. It was a feeling of anger, bitterness and being powerless. And then I started going to parties and started drinking. Once I started drinking I realized that gets rid of those feelings pretty quick.” And after ranting on the web that he was opposed to gay marriage, he’s since come around.

How was Greg forced out of the closet? After a suicide attempt with his mother’s (actually harmless) medication landed him in juvenile psych ward, he confessed to a police officer why he tried taking his own life. The nurse noted down the reason, and by the time Greg made it back to school, everyone knew, including his best friend who, from ages 13-15, he carried on a sexual relationship with until the other boy declared he was straight. It wouldn’t be his only suicide attempt, thanks to the bullying he faced by his football team’s quarterback.

“My biggest mistake when I was young and doing the interviews, being naïve, I thought the gay rights movements should have been more focused on the youth and the suicides that were going on,” he says, not exactly wrong. “And I basically came out against gay marriage, saying it was a back-burner issue. But now that I am older, I realize how important it is. I don’t plan on getting married any time soon. But I see how it is an important issue and how it could improve situations in high school. Whatever issue you take on could help another issue down the road.”

Now living in Elmira, New York, and working as a debt collector, Congdon says he’s “very happy.” And he’s put down the sauce. He switched to Diet Pepsi.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #gregcongdon #outings #pennsylvania stories and more


  • Oprah

    How naively cute. :)

  • michiko

    This raises a concern Ive had as we move forward into a new era of out gay youth. Im worried that many kids, after watching TV shows with cool gay kids or reading articles about out class presidents, come out to their small-minded community and are stunned when they face horrible discrimination and bullying. Kids need to think long and hard about their circumstances before they come out.

  • damo

    @michiko: Agreed!! That’s why I came out at the age of 20, long after I graduated high school. My prudeness helped out to keep my homo-ness a secret.

  • Jeffree

    @Michiko: Same thought here about the negative parts of coming out before feeling ready.

    I can’t speak for other guys but I was very sure I was gay in 6th or 7th grade, started reading everything I could find, and waited till 10th before having a bf. Didn’t come out officially to my family until college, but by then they knew, & it went OK.

    My parents arent/weren’t ‘phobes but needed a little education. Sibs were fine,

    I didn ‘t feel any pressure to come out before then, at least until I felt ready.

    Some people I know came out with a blaze, good for them but that ‘s not how I do things. I’m glad I waited until I could deal with the possible chances of family disapproval and rejection by friends.

    ++I’m glad Greg Congdon’s doing better and sharing his story w/ us !

  • Stanley

    OMG. I have a major crush on Greg Congdon. He’s so cute and handsome. I would love to someday be in a civil union with a guy like that, and lead a quiet life in the suburbs.

    But I feel guilty about those feelings. I was raised to believe that same-sex attraction is wrong. So I need to think about something else now.

  • Shannon1981

    Good that Greg is happy now. Being outed in high school blows. Been there, done that. He is a very brave soul. I really wish him the best.

    Stanley, go see a psychiatrist. I’ll keep saying it every time you make a comment like that.

  • orpheus_lost

    @Stanley: I’m really starting to feel sorry for you, Stanley. Your parents or other support group messed you up badly with their hatred and have made you hate yourself and others you identify as like you. I agree with Shannon1981, go see a proper, non-converting, psychiatrist. If the first one doesn’t work for you, try others till you find one who can reach you. Your gay bashing comments are an annoyance but I’d hate to think the haters won and caused you do harm yourself. Get the help you need to be a happy person.

  • Jeffree

    “Stanley” doesn’t want help. He doesn’t want to change. Like most trolls he is here to disrupt threads, get attention & drag us down to his level of misery. Let’s not encourage him, we’re just enabling his neediness….

    His story keeps changing in every post, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not even gay.

  • ewe

    a debt collector? He must still be bitter being that.

  • Stanley

    @Jeffree: There you go again, “Jeffree,” attacking me like you usually do. How has my story changed? Please let me know and I will explain. I’ve been pretty honest all along that I am a gay man, but I’m not completely comfortable with it.

    I don’t know how I’m supposed to get more comfortable with myself. I’m still a virgin and I don’t want to have sex with random guys. I’m not particularly interested in gay bars. I’m a little overweight, and probably not really attractive. I’m a big supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA). I’m politically very conservative, and I won’t start supporting the Democratic party & HRC just because all the other gay guys do. I think for myself.

  • hf2hvit

    Think for yourself? We’ll see how that works when your felow NRA memebers prefer that you turn one of your guns on yourself. If your remarks are real, GET HELP!. If they aren’t, GET HELP!

  • Jeffree

    @HF2HVT: Ignore the troll Stanley. It’s just here to derail the conversation and focus on itself. It doesn’ t want help, but only to drag us down to it’s own level of misery.

  • justiceontherocks

    @Stanley: Stanley, all you write about is you. These posts aren’t about you. I understand you’re trying to work through your internalized homophobia and self-loathing. This isn’t a good place to do that. The help you need is not here. And it’s getting boring.

  • Glenn McGahee

    For the record. The NRA has nothing to do with being gay. Nothing at all. That was maybe Charlton Heston’s schtick years ago when he represented them but he’s long gone.
    Yep. Many conservatives are members of the NRA. So are many Democrats, gay, straight, black and white, even brown and multi-colored.
    Just for the record.

  • Marc

    Speaking from an older perspective I know that back in the 70’s when I played high school hockey I would have been pounded if the other guys knew I was gay. Being gay is hard enough but combine that with being athletic and you get a situation where staying in the closet is your best option. Things are changing, but slowly.

Comments are closed.