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Austin Hendrix: The Coming Out Story of a Now Openly Gay Athlete

April 12, 2011

Austin Hendrix

YPSILANTI, Mich. —

Austin Hendrix thought he would be free once he got to college.

There would be no more hiding the fact he’s gay, no more denying something that is as much a part of him as the color of his eyes. He could be himself, not the muted version he’d been presenting to the world, to his friends and his teammates in Eastern Michigan‘s track and cross-country programs.

That was the plan, anyway.

“I was new here. I didn’t know anyone on the team, I didn’t know anyone on the campus at all. So nobody knew that I was gay,” said Hendrix, whose wiry frame immediately pegs him as a distance runner. “I had to make the decision on whether or not to confide in my teammates, coach, classmates, whatever, that I was gay and tell them my sexuality, or just keep it a secret.

“You want to fit in, you want to have your teammates’ respect. And a lot of people are ashamed to come out because they think their teammates will think less of them.”

So Hendrix stepped back into the closet.

Only now it felt more like a prison.

via Sports | Coming Out: The story of one openly gay athlete | Seattle Times Newspaper.

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