I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but every once in a while I do find a positive, hopeful, story that I think deserves your attention 🙂
I have one of those today and it comes to us from our neighbors to the north in Canada. Scott Heggart is now a gay 21 year old freshman at the University of Ottawa majoring in communications. His coming out story was recently documented in this story from the Ottawa Citizen.
Scott figured out he was gay in the sixth grade, but even then he was an athlete and knew that homophobia was all too prevalent in the locker room. There were times when he considered suicide; other times he tried to “think himself straight” as he put it. It didn’t work and he finally came out to his family in the eight grade.
Coming out to those he played hockey with was more difficult, something that would take more than two years in all. In the end, he decided to come out in an unusual way by posting a video every day on his YouTube channel.
As the Citizen wrote: “The 365 videos are intense, instructive, intelligent. Some are short updates, in others he talks about gay marriage, or whether gays can be “cured.” (Short answer: No.) He wades into U.S. politics and takes on the religious right.”
Here’s one of the most compelling videos in which he talks about the difficulties of being a gay athlete:
At the time he was posting the videos, Scott had become involved in a relationship with a real cutie, a boy named Brock Doivon. Afraid to come out to his teammates in person, he changed his relationship status on Facebook from single to in a relationship and posted a picture of himself and his boyfriend as well. Here’s what happened next according to the Citizen:
By the next morning, there had been no reaction to his status change, so Scott went to school wondering if anyone had noticed, or if he’d been blacklisted while he slept. Friday came and went. So did Saturday and most of Sunday.
Then, on Sunday evening, one of Scott’s best friends from hockey sent him a private message on Facebook: “What you did man, it takes a lot of courage and I’m proud of you. And I’ve been talking to a lot of people and they all say the same thing.”
Then the messages of support (along with some apologies for their homophobic comments) came pouring in.
Like I said, it’s a positive story, but it also has its sad aspects. In truth, a big reason why we know about Scott is that he chose to speak up after another boy who was gay, Jamie Hubley, committed suicide.
After learning of that, Scott posted another video, not just to his YouTube channel, but also to his Facebook page. It called attention to him. In it he asked: “So he liked figure skating more than hockey. He liked singing more than fighting. He liked boys more than girls. Why did it matter? Why did our society allow for so many people to judge him for showing more courage than I can ever dream of having?” You can find the entire video below.
Two stories, one with a tragic ending, one much more positive. Whatever else you can say, Scott is a terrific example for all of us. If you want to know more, you can find his YouTube channel here.