Man Overcomes Homophobia In Locker Room, Then Thrives In Gay Volleyball League.

I’m Jesse Anderson. I’m from Asheville, North Carolina. I’ve always been very active. I’ve loved playing soccer and I’ve played
all my life. All through middle, high school – middle school,
high school and college, I heard homophobic slurs. During middle school, we were in the locker
room. It was after a game. One of my teammates came up to us – it was
me and a couple of friends – in the locker room and he was referring to an incident where
I missed a kick and it was a crucial point in the game. He said, “You’re a fucking faggot for
missing that.” That was – that hurt a lot. It wasn’t easy to take in, it wasn’t easy
to deal with at the time. So after hearing it for fifteen or so years,
I was done. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I ended up quitting and didn’t participate
in any additional sports activities for the better part of four years. When I went to college, I didn’t join any
competitive teams because I still felt that I wouldn’t be accepted. So I ended up joining some intramural groups
and it was still fun but it wasn’t as competitive as I would have liked it to be. So four years later, I was hanging out with
a friend. He was one of my first gay friends in Boston. We were sitting there chatting about things
and playing video games. He mentioned, “You should join this gay
volleyball league.” I just remember thinking, is this going to
be like fifteen years ago? Is this going to be – how is this going to
make me feel? Will it be like the locker room incident? Will it be – I don’t know. It was very scary to me. It took some convincing but he eventually
had me go. We went. It was right down the street from where I
lived at the time and we went together. We’re walking up the stairs and we set foot
in the gym. The first thing I hear is, “Bitch, you better
hit that serve!” I was in shock. I didn’t know what to think but I felt like
I actually belonged somewhere. I kept going back consistently. It was great to finally make more gay friends. I didn’t feel as uncomfortable with the
issues I had previously because there’s people that are like me around me. It was nerve-wracking because you’re going
up against really, really good people and I had no idea what I was doing half the time,
but it was great to finally feel accepted on the court and off the court. I started playing volleyball more competitively
and I started going around the country, playing competitive volleyball and I realized that
this was going to become something very important to me. So as a result of joining the league, I ended
up – I felt renewed confidence. I felt like I had family in the league. It made me want to be honest with everybody
around me. I ended up coming out to a lot of friends
in the city of Boston at the time as well as my family. And I felt – I felt relieved. I felt like I finally was able to truly be
myself, both around them and at volleyball. I know that there’s more kids out there
who’ve had my experience, especially in the South and not just in the South but everywhere,
and I want them to know that it’s okay. You just have to find the right group and
the right organization to participate in and you’ll find family.

28 thoughts on “Man Overcomes Homophobia In Locker Room, Then Thrives In Gay Volleyball League.

  1. That's a shame that guy did that to you in school cuz you miss the kick you should have told him flat out just a freaking game if you didn't like it tough cookies but anyway I'm glad you're in this group that you're in now it sounds like a lot of fun and you're going to a lot of different places and meeting a lot of different people cheers to you buddy you're an awfully nice guy I wish I knew you personally you're really nice you would make a great friend anyway have a great week

  2. Jesse, excellent video.   Thanks, bro.  It is amazing how much power we give to others in accepting who we are.  I think the key is to be who we are regardless of what others think about who we are.   Thanks, man……..Ray

  3. I always avoided team sports for this very reason. I tried a gay volleyball league the guys were so much more advanced than I was and they got very frustrated when I missed a serve. Maybe it just wasn't the right group of guys. I'm glad it worked for you! ?

  4. I didn't participate in sports. I was too nelly. I could never hit or catch a ball. I was a runt so football was really out of the question. Idk if the coach was gay. He'd been in the army and he would tell the boys "you girls better shape up". The guys respected me bc I drove tractors and combines at an early age. Some guys would tease me with "girl you better shape up" and everybody would laugh.

  5. Great story. A lot of guys can relate with what he went through, especially those that spent time in and around straight guys and sports teams. Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. Yeah, don't hang it on the South. I can count the times in liberal Northern California I was hit with slurs growing up. All.the.time.

  7. Hearing it for fifteen years? Then you were in college? How long were you in school? Edit or change yr YouTube posts bro….

  8. How can autistic men be allies? We used to be picked on for various things. People thought we were passive. We were weak. we had one friend we wouldn't leave alone (you know what that means). They thought we were gay. We just wanted to be left alone by the jerks, the bullies. I guess I overcompensate with aggression now, because of the assholery I endured in middle school. I just want to be left alone with my life so I can pursue life to the fullest. How do I support people who are gbtq or l?

  9. I hated school sports…but looking back now, after 40 years, I realise that the real issue had been the unrelenting homophobic bullying meted out to me incessantly; silently colluded in by the teaching staff. It was beyond shameful.

    Oh, and the chap telling his story in this video is soooooo handsome. ?

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