Liam Ball is no stranger to homophobic “locker room talk.”
Until recently, the high school senior and captain of his school’s wrestling team would frequently overhear his teammates cracking homophobic jokes after practice.
“I’d hear these kids in the locker room talking about stuff,” he tells OutSports in a new interview.
Some of that “stuff” included him. Earlier this school year, Liam came out to a few friends. Word quickly spread around school. It didn’t take long for his teammates to catch wind of the rumors and begin talking amongst themselves, though none of them addressed him directly about it.
“I figured it was time to come out to them and talk to them about it,” he says.
So he did something that took guts. He called a team meeting to address the issue head on.
“It was the scariest group to come out to because I spent so much time with them,” he recalls. “They were the bros, and I didn’t know how they’d take it.”
Liam stood before his 30-some teammates and told them that, yes, he was gay, that he wasn’t going to hide it, and that it was time for them to curb the homophobic language.
To his surprise, the response from his teammates was nothing but supportive. After sitting down with them, the “gay talk” immediately ceased.
“A lot of kids had my back after I had the conversation with them, which was nice. I grew with my team, and we had a much better connection after it happened.”
In February, the Seattle Times ran article about Liam shortly before a regional meet. The article mentioned he was gay. When other wrestlers from other teams gave him trouble for it, Liam refused to let it bother him.
“I just kind of ignored it and proved it on the mat. That’s kind of what you’ve got to do.”
He ended up winning nearly every match in the state of Washington until the Class 3A state final. His overall season record was 38-3, losing twice at a tournament in Idaho and just once in Washington.
Since coming out, Liam has remained a standout athlete and team captain at his high school, he’s also president of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and vice president of the student body.
“I feel like I’ve made a positive impact at my high school,” he says. “Now it’s time to go make a positive impact on the world.”
Related: Pro wrestler comes out as bi after posting adorable video with his super cute boyfriend
Photo credit: Facebook
Bravo, young man! That took a lot of courage. This is such an inspiration and sign that visibility ultimately makes it better, not worse for a person.
Adorable. I don’t actually know him but I already love him.
Alan down in Florida
It is brave young men like Liam who will make the world a better, safer place for all people – gay, straight and everything in between and beyond.
ugh i’m in my 40s and still no guts to discuss it with family or friends i’m sure some suspect but it was never brought up….but good for him his life will be better after getting this out of the way..sometimes i look back and secretly wish i was outed in jr high lol
Just go ahead & do it. You’ll feel a weight off like you can’t imagine. And you’d be correct that most know/suspect, so all you’re doing is pandering to bigots who’ll not accept you & keeping people at arms-length who would like to know the “true you”.
Wouldn’t it be great if these stories were reported in the mainstream media? Wouldn’t it be great to see these stories on LOGO, the so-called “gay channel”, instead of yet another re-run of Mama’s family or Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
The more athletes that come out the better it will be for all young gay and trans kids. Freakn love this!
It´s He closet Band Sigle LGBTTSq ! School the Level Age It´s classic Year´s Book letter my the my ! Sorry is talentus is it´s he GaySuperGirlsGaySuperMem luck next love it´s byby boy beautify sex two like pose vogue 69 it´s .
Good for him and excellent for the support.
This such an incredible story of the changes and advancements that have been made for LGBTQ youth and our people in general. We still have a long road to go but this story, and especially this young man help to renew my hope that one day we will all be equally accepted everywhere. Thank you, Liam Bell, for being you.
I love this article because it is a great achievement and validation not only for this brave young man but also for all of those who have fought the good fight to get us to this point where he can be an out proud athlete AND garner the support of his team mates. Even since I came out in the late 80’s this is a great leap forward in public opinion and attitudes. Lets hope we start seeing much more of it.
Good for him, he has a bright future.
Yeah, I’m sure it’s real hard to be a fit, young, attractive, masculine gay male. Reeeeal tough.
Would you be more sympathetic if he were an ugly, blind, quadriplegic? I didn’t think so. You need all your sympathy for yourself. Right?
Wow!! what a classy role model for the teenage crowd! We need more like him, especially from sports! What would be great if those rumored gay NFL stars would come out!If that happens, I think that will end much of the homophobia in high schools (and to a lesser extent-college) and the attitudes of the public in general. Hope there is a follow-up on his career in school and in life. Lol, Liam!
Read an article a while ago about a football player (who’s dad is a big-time college coach) came out. Basically he said that not only did his teammates support him, they gave him the old “anyone wants to start messing with you, they have to deal with us” speech.
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