Christian Zeitvogel, a college footballer at Michigan’s Kalamazoo College, has become just the eighth player in the sport to come out as gay.

The teenager, who is in his first year as an offensive lineman for the college’s football team, revealed his sexuality on Tuesday (January 8) in an essay for Outsports.



Zeitvogel, who wants to pursue a double major in political science and psychology, said he was only able to come out to himself in his second year at Wylie E. Groves High School, after getting therapy to address his depression and anxiety.

“For most of high school, I was able to go through life and never give a second thought to my sexuality,” he explained, before adding that during his third year, he “began to recognise the toll it was taking on my life.”

Christian Zeitvogel didn’t see how football and being gay could co-exist

The student said that after being named as one of the three captains for his last year of high school, he became conflicted.

“I was a leader of the football team, valued by my team. On the other hand, I was also gay, something I thought was an unforgivable sin to my coaches and teammates,” he wrote.

Christian Zeitvogel, who is studying at Kalamazoo College in Michigan
Christian Zeitvogel wants to pursue a double major in political science and psychology (Christian Zeitvogel/linkedin)

The footballer added that to his younger self, this sexuality “had connotations of disgust, femininity and reason for ostracism.

“Even with the progressive nature of my high school, it is undeniable that football possesses a different culture that exudes explicit normative masculinity.

“I felt alone in the world. I was neither flamboyant nor was I just ‘one of the guys’ on the football team”

— Christian Zeitvogel

“I couldn’t fathom how I, someone who identified as ‘gay,’ could be an ‘alpha-male,’ an athlete who was receiving attention from college coaches. It defied my schema of the separate spheres of ‘gay’ and ‘jock.'”

Zeitvogel, who wants to become a civil rights attorney and co-led a student walk-out in March in reaction to the Parkland Shooting, said that at that point, “I felt alone in the world.

“I was neither flamboyant nor was I just ‘one of the guys’ on the football team. I couldn’t fully identify with either faction. I was a dichotomy, a paradox.

Christian Zeitvogel poses for a photo with his dog which he posted on Twitter
Christian Zeitvogel said he had to learn to love himself (The_Zeisenvogel/twitter)

“My mind churned as I accepted the faulty notion that no matter how talented I was as a player or how influential I was as a leader, I would never be unconditionally loved by some of my closest friends because of my orientation.”

The footballer wrote that he felt like he “could never come out, not without shattering the foundations of the new life I’d built for myself.

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“I would have to shroud my truth and wear a mask for the rest of my life as a football player.”

Gay footballer Christian Zeitvogel greeted warmly after revelation

Fortunately, after he joined Kalamazoo College in September, he explained that his “paranoia began to dissolve.”

After he came out to his family in his second year of high school, he told his friends and even some teammates—but the doubts persisted as he left for college.

Zeitvogel said that he ended up fearing rejections which never came, and that “ultimately, my insecurity was my largest barrier.

“Nothing is more essential than one’s love and acceptance for themselves”

— Christian Zeitvogel

“Those whom I feared rejection from exceeded my expectations in their support for me; it was my own doubt and intolerance that made life intolerable.”

He concluded by telling readers that “nothing is more essential than one’s love and acceptance for themselves.

“It has taken me a long time to learn this lesson, and I’m still working to fully accept this, but it is the greatest piece of advice that I can offer to those who may read this and identify with my struggle.

“Learn to love yourself and be comfortable in your own skin. The rest will follow.”




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