NFL's Wade Davis: A Role Model On Coming Out
Early last June, Wade Davis, a former National Football League (NFL) professional, took a courageous step and publicly came out of his closet in an interview with both OutSports an CNN. Wade, who was born on July 28, 1977, grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, the youngest child and only son of a divorced woman. He attended Weber State University and during his career played for the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks NFL franchises.
Davis currently works for the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City as their Assistant Director of Job Readiness. He is a public speaker, gay activist, writer and educator. He serves as an advocate for GLBT youth and serves with GLSEN on their sport advisory board. He also worked on the Obama re-election campaign.
On National Coming Out Day, October 11, 2012, he shared his story of revealing his sexual orientation to his mother on OutSports. All of us have our own stories, however, I felt that his was relevant to all who are currently or possibly considering this move. I think this is an appropriate time to share portions here during Black Gay History Month.
Prior to his conversation with his mother, Davis recalls: "My only focus at the time was the need to understand my attraction to men. I spent hours-days-thinking about what that meant and how it would change everything around me. I was my only focus."
Davis continues by recounting the actual situation of having "the talk": "What I neglected to consider were my mother's life experiences that would shape her reaction to my news-and her eventual acceptance. The typical narrative crossed my mind about how she was groomed in a southern Baptist church."
"When I proclaimed I was gay-her second comment was, 'you're already Black.' Immediately I understood what that meant. As a Black man, I was born into the world with one unerasable strike. And the idea that her supposedly strong Black son would 'intentionally' add another was unimaginable to her."
Wade concludes his experience with these observations: "Now that she has accepted me, all of me, I can rest. Thankfully we allowed each other the space to cope with the external forces that shaped our interactions with each other. But I can rest only for a moment because we must continue to remove the space created by our perceived differences and replace it with love."
"That's been my big lesson in all of this: Love removes the space that causes our fears, insecurities and inhibitions to keep us apart. Love is freedom. We can finally see each other for who we really are, as individuals who must now and forever do the work to understand the other person's perspective, and respect-as opposed to inspect-every choice the other one makes. We must practice the art of viewing EVERYONE through the lens of love."
"Our world will look vastly different when we do."
Well said, Wade Davis, and so true. As many of us have learned through our own coming out process, it is indeed an act of love. No matter if it's family or friends, we do it out of love. This revelation is so the other will know us as we truly are; our honest selves.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!