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California coach told bisexual teen: stay closeted

California coach told bisexual teen: stay closeted
Casey Bethel
Casey Bethel

On Wednesday, a young man named Casey Bethel published a personal essay on Outsports, in which he reveals his journey to self-acceptance as a bisexual male, despite having a high school basketball coach once advise, “You can never tell a soul.”

“Countless days of hearing the phrases ‘don’t be a faggot,’ ‘you’re so gay,’ and ‘eww, you queer’ put this weigh on me,” he writes. “Then one day someone called me a ‘fag.’ They didn’t just use the word, they directed it at me… I laughed it off and held back tears until everyone was gone. Then I let loose. My coach approached me — a sobbing mess — asking what had happened. I didn’t hold back.”

At first, his coach’s reaction was blank until he realized Bethel wasn’t joking. Then he sat next to him and explained that “people don’t like different, don’t like people drifting from their idea of life… As he explained to me, I need to bottle that part of me up so nobody could ever see it because nobody would understand and I would forever be frowned upon.”

Thankfully, Bethel didn’t take this advice and received a very welcome response from friends when he posted a coming out letter to Facebook.

“You have to accept yourself before you can expect others to accept you,” writes Bethel, who’s now a student at the University of Oregon. “But you’re going to make it because the night can only last for so long. Be you, accept you, and most importantly love you.”

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