This gay couple are fighting stereotypes about their sexuality
A gay couple in America are working to fight stereotypes about their relationship.
Brad Neumann and Justin Rabon are the epitome of a fairytale love story.
The couple began their journey together in late 2014, but since then they have had to overcome a lot of stereotypes that people have had about them.
The two men, who are both athletes, realised that people had a lot of stereotypes about being gay and how masculinity works within that.
This was exaggerated for Nuemann after he watched the recently released remake of Beauty and the Beat which featured a gay character.
“The fat funny side kick was flamboyant and gay,” Nuemann explained, a stereotype which he felt had been overdone.
The Division I sprinters felt that this flamboyant character didn’t reflect themselves and so they decided to pen essays about what it meant for them to be gay.
The essays, which were released in conjunction with the start of Pride Month in Outsports, talk about homophobia and media representation.
All though both Nuemann and Rabon were out, their decision to write the essays was like a “second coming out experience,” Rabon explained.
The two, who both attend the University of Minnesota, came out to each other first – having both felt pressured to hide their sexuality in the past.
“After we came out to each other, we finally had someone to relate to,” Rabon explained. “That changed everything.”
After coming out to each other, they decided to take slow steps in telling others, including their team mates.
Neumann said: “I think having them [his teammates] personally know me has changed their views.”
“And now, when they go around to the next person who doesn’t believe someone who is LGBT should have the same rights, they’ll say, ‘actually, I know Justin and Brad.’ It’s about changing minds like that.”
Rabon added: “It’s so important to get to know all types of people,.You can’t generalise one person. That’s how bigoted people are. They’ll group one extreme into an entire group of people and don’t form an actual opinion.
“That’s what forms the horrible homophobic, sexist and racist thoughts. In my life, I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘you’re my first black friend.’ It blows my mind, but just knowing someone who is a gay black guy can break down those stereotypes and having straight allies are so important, in my opinion. It doesn’t matter who you’re into or what you look like, you’re your own person.”
Neumann added that it could be a “big burden to hide half of your life” and that he hoped that being out would inspire and encourage others to feel comfortable with their sexuality.
“The lies you tell over and over, it weighs on your self-esteem and self-worth, how you view yourself. There are so many subliminal signs that people can do to keep you (closeted).
“When being gay is the punchline to a joke, like it’s something bad, hearing that makes it hard to accept yourself. That’s why we’re going public now, so people realise it’s 10 times better being out.”