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Interview With Wade Davis: NFL Player Turns LGBT Advocate

Victor Figueroa |
October 25, 2013 | 11:46 a.m. PDT

Neon Tommy Contributor

Wade Davis (Creative Commons)
Wade Davis (Creative Commons)
Wade Davis grew up in the South, in a neighborhood that had a stigma against LGBT people.  As an NFL player, Davis struggled to keep his homosexuality a secret, constantly questioning himself for being something that he learned was inherently wrong.  

During his short stint as a player, Davis said the hardest times weren't keeping his sexuality a secret, but facing his thoughts when he was alone. That's when he had to "sit with the fact" that he was a gay man. 

Davis struggled mentally to overcome stereotypes about gay men being "weak" and not being able to play sports.  It wasn't until he started working with LGBT youth that Davis really "started to love the fullness of Wade."

In an interview with OutSports.com, Davis said he thought being openly gay would hurt the "brand" of his teammates, like Jevon Kearse and Samari Rolle.  But Davis was mistaken; he learned that "athletes don't care whether not you're gay or straight; they just care if you can play."

Davis began turning his life around when he started working for Hetrick-Martin, an organization that helps with the development of LGBT youth.  

Now Davis gives lectures/speeches across the country advocating for pro-athletes to be honest about their sexuality.  Davis is also the newly appointed executive director for the You Can Play Project.  The organization ensures that LGBT athletes have the same opportunites as heterosexuals in sports.  

While the environment for LGBT athletes is getting better, Davis believes that the media often focuses too much on gay men.  

"I think the LGBT movement is really a 'G' movement," he explained. "It's barely an L, and not a B and definitely not a T movement. So I think the media needs to pay a lot more attention with every other letter.  And to make sure that we're informed and aware of the plights of everyone else besides gay men."

Davis spoke recently at USC on a panel of LGBT athletes that included softball Olympic medalist Lauren Lappin.  


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