Being an LGBTQ+ Athlete at Trinity; A Testimony on Identity and Competition

4 min read

By Ashley McDermott ’26

Sports Editor

Athleticism knows no boundaries in terms of identity, other than an unmoving devotion to your team. However, individualism and erasure often correspond with one another when a member of the team’s identity is not acknowledged in the narrative. Student-athletes belonging to the LGBTQ+ community have taken the time to share their experiences with the Tripod anonymously to address something that deserves a conversation: their narratives.  

Tripod: How do your teammates and faculty support you?

ANON: They support me like they would any other student athlete. At times, queer athletes’ identity may draw attention, and they need support in situations that other student athletes may not find themselves in. I believe it is about consistent unconditional support for all of my teammates regardless of identity; that is the culture we want to spread. We are all individuals with our own wants and needs, but my identity as gay doesn’t make me much different from my straight-identifying teammates.

My teammates and coaches really support me in my identity. While my coaches might not know, my teammates do and there is a bond between myself and other queer players. It makes our team feel very accepting and safe to be around. My coaches also have made it clear that they are supportive of the LGBT+ community.

Tripod: Do you feel there are boundaries within your self-expression as an athlete?

ANON: Growing up, for sure. I think every kid, at one time or another, thinks about fitting in with their teammates and peers. I definitely experienced some bullying growing up just for being different. But as a college student, with my matured peers and teammates, we have all had time to grow into ourselves and love ourselves a bit more, so no one is trying to hold anyone else back. I think that the boundaries of self-expression I experience are not due to being an athlete at all but are more broadly societal. If anything, my teammates and my sport empower me to live authentically.

For me personally, I don’t see too much of a boundary with how I express myself, but there are moments around other sports teams (particularly some men’s teams) where I’ve heard very derogatory speech towards the queer community. This is just an instance where I choose to not interact or spend much time around these people because I don’t want to feel like I am masking or holding myself back. within my team, there is no boundary and i feel completely free to be myself around my teammates

Tripod: Do you feel connected to other queer groups on campus?

ANON: I do feel a connection among the female gay/lesbian identifying athletic community. Many of us met through sharing lift times or social webs and really just have love and respect for one another. I think we all feel like we have this shared identity and similar experiences, which links us within our little community.

While I do feel connected to other queer groups on campus, I feel like I could do a little more to contribute to these groups. I think it might be because I’ve found a bunch of other queer people both within my team and on other teams so I am not searching for more community, but it is my goal to be more connected with the other groups.

Tripod: What is the support system like for queer athletes? What is it lacking?

ANON: I don’t think I can identify a specific support system specifically for queer athletes. My impression is that some of our coaches and administration could benefit from training on how to do so. I think we lack the attentiveness or willingness to change and learn with the times; the fact of the matter is queer students do play sports, and we may not look or identify in a way that is familiar to the public, but that doesn’t make us, queer athletes, wrong. It makes the sports and their administrators exclusive, which they shouldn’t be. 

Tripod: What’s your proudest moment in your athletic career?

My proudest moment has to be our first game against Colby College this past season (1/26/24) where we won 4-3 in overtime. In the overtime period, I was out there with two of my teammates and close friends for the beautiful game winner put in by my long-term linemate. It was really just picture-perfect.

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

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