Alec Donovan was fresh off of winning the New Jersey state high school wrestling championship in the 145-pound division of the NJSIAA/Rothman Institute Wrestling Championships when he reached another milestone in his life — coming out as gay.
He was on a recruiting trip to Limestone College in South Carolina with other prospective teenage wrestlers, including another one from New Jersey who had competed in the same state championship.
“Rumor is you’re bisexual,” the other student said to him. “Is it true?”
For Donovan, it was a pivotal moment. Since realizing he was gay as a high school freshman, he’d experienced the depression, confusion and suicidal thoughts that unfortunately affect so many LGBT youth. But he was ready to speak his truth and unburden himself from the years of covering.
“The rumor isn’t true,” Donovan told the other boy. “I’m not bisexual…I’m gay.”
It ended up being something of a nonevent, and the casual nature of the news is something we absolutely love hearing about.
The other boy said he was “cool with it,” and asked Donovan’s permission to talk to the Limestone team about it. And while it really wasn’t the business of the other athlete, Donovan said “sure.”
“It’s better that everybody knows anyway, so I don’t end up on a team that doesn’t want me for all of me,” he told Outsports.
The Limestone wrestlers were equally unfazed, with, “That’s cool as long as you don’t hit on me,” being the most extreme reaction. And one that Donovan had the perfect rebuttal to — “Why would I hit on you?” Everyone laughed.
Donovan doesn’t know where he’ll end up next year, but you can bet that wherever it is, he’ll be welcomed for who he truly is — an exceptional athlete who just so happens to be gay.