Meet Britton Majure, a 17-year-old varsity soccer player and member of the track team at Keller High in Keller, Texas. In a new essay with OutSports, Majure details his road to coming out, and why he chose to start a gay-straight alliance in his high school.
“Around the time I entered the fifth grade, I knew I was gay,” Majure writes. “I would never have admitted it to anyone, even myself, but I knew I was. Growing up in Keller, Texas, I became conditioned to the idea that anything different was considered wrong. So for the majority of my fifth- and sixth-grade years, I promised myself that I would find a way not to be different. I hoped that one day I would wake up and suddenly be normal.”
Majure goes on to explain how his fear living in the closet pushed him hard in athletics. He went on to become a record-breaking runner for his Jr. High cross country team. Yet even in the wake of his triumphs, he had regrets.
“I wish I could go back and win all of those races as a gay athlete,” he says. “I would prove it to all those kids who said words like “f*g” that they just got beat by a gay guy. That the gay guy shattered all of those records and made them look stupid, but I didn’t.”
“I wish that I wouldn’t have been too scared,” he adds.
Majure continued his athletics–and living in the closet–into high school his freshman year. Then, one fateful day, everything changed.
“It was around the end of the first semester of my freshman year, and my teammates and I had just finished practice,” he remembers. “We all sat in the locker room cracking jokes and messing with one another.”
“That was until the conversation shifted to my teammates making some not so funny jokes,” he writes. “They began to yell at one another, ‘Hey, don’t act like such a fag!’ and ‘Come on, you homo!’ The insults and language were nothing new to me, but then one of my teammates caught my response. They must have noticed me not laugh hard enough or my face wince because they shouted to me from halfway across the locker room, ‘What Majure, are you gay?’ The locker room fell with a quiet laugh. I froze. I had never had someone ask me the question before. I was scared.”
“I looked him dead in the eye with shaking confidence in my voice said, ‘Yeah, I’m gay, is there a problem?'”
Ironically, it took a bit of convincing once Majure told his teammates. He had to swear that yes, he is gay. He also had to endure questions about who the hottest guys on the team were. Fortunately, those took a back seat to his explaining how he always knew he was gay, and how he wasn’t ashamed.
“In the weeks that followed, I began to notice a shift in my school’s sports culture,” Majure explains. “Although my coming out didn’t eliminate homophobia from my teammates and coaches, I saw less. The homophobic slurs and jokes in the locker room turned into teammates asking me genuine questions, and my coaches’ homophobic language was, for the most part, eliminated. I began to notice myself feel happier and freer as I proudly owned my identity as an athlete and a gay man on and off the field.”
By his junior year, Majure had delivered an address on LGBTQ equality in sports. He’d also started his school’s gay-straight alliance, for which he still serves as president.
“I am beyond thankful for my coming out,” he concludes. “It was the decision that genuinely changed my life and the lives of all of those around me. I used to feel like being gay was holding me down, but now I know that owning my sexuality is, in fact, what pushes me forward.”
Good game, kid.