This openly gay footballer has been accepted by everyone but his parents
An openly gay University footballer has opened up about being accepted by his sports peers but rejected by his family.
Austin Hodges, a 19-year-old sportsman from Texas is a sophomore at the University of Houston.
Writing for Outsports, the teen explained that he has had to find his family in his coaches, fans and fellow players after his Southern Baptist parents rejected him.
Recalling a memory from when he was in 9th grade, around the age of 14 or 15, Hodges writes that his father found a love letter from his first boyfriend.
His parents flew into a fit of rage and his mother tried to burn him on a hot stove top.
“As soon as I walked into the house my dad started yelling at me and saying many hurtful things that are just too hard to even type.
“My mom was screaming as well, saying it was ‘my choice’ to be that way. As she saying this, she grabbed my hand and said just as it would also be my choice to not let her burn my hand on the hot stove as she was pressing it closer and closer,” he wrote.
The teenager explained that it “took every bit of my strength to pull away from her so that she wouldn’t burn my hand.”
After that moment the teenager became severely depressed and attempted suicide with an overdose of pills the following weekend when his parents were away from the house.
However, his attempt was unsuccessful and when he woke up he realised it was not the way to go on with life.
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Instead, he decided he should come out to everybody he knew in his ultra-conservative Texas town.
He first came out to his biology teacher, Mrs Broomas. The class were doing a sex-ed quiz and one of the questions asked how to avoid pregnancy to which Hodges replied that he was “gay so I don’t have to worry about that”.
“As she got to my paper she broke out laughing and just smiled at me. She then asked if she could read it to the class, and with confidence, I told her she could.
“When she did, all the kids laughed and gave me a hug afterwards and told me no matter what that they would always be my friends and still support me. Everyone in that class was either on my cross-country team or on my football team,” he added.
After that moment the news spread across the school and all of his peers accepted him, including his teammates.
“Each of them made sure I still felt welcome with them and that we were all a family with the same goal, to win at whatever sport we were playing,” he wrote.
Hodges added that during high school his sports peers in football, cross-country, powerlifting, golf and track and field were all “incredibly supporting”.
“They pretty much were the family I didn’t have at home and my coach was a substitute mom, though she never knew I thought of her that way”.