Bigoted parent thinks volleyball coach coming out as bisexual makes him unsuitable to teach high school students
Bisexual volleyball player and coach Brett Thompson has explained his reasons for coming out in response to a bigoted parent who questioned his suitability to teach.
Thompson was head girls volleyball coach at West Salem High School in Wisconsin, the school he himself attended. In April 2018 he came out as bisexual after years of repressing his sexuality and attempting to be straight.
“I am me and that hasn’t changed and it won’t change,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “I have been struggling with something inside me for awhile and I am finally putting myself first… I am bisexual.”
Anticipating rejection from his friends and family, Thompson then turned off his phone and tried to sleep.
The next day he was relieved to see that the vast majority of comments were positive and supportive – but not everyone was happy. When he arrived at work he was told, to his shock, that one parent had spoken against him.
The father of one of Thompson’s students had contacted the school, expressing anger that the volleyball coach was “exposing high school girls to that sort of lifestyle”.
Speaking to Outsports, Thompson explained: “This parent had requested a meeting with me because I had cut his daughter from the team since we have a large number of girls come out for our program.
“He made the comment about my sexuality at the end of the meeting, which also included the athletic director.”
After battling internally with his sexuality for years, Brett Thompson refused to accept the man’s bigotry. “My response to this parent was that whom I choose to love has no effect on my abilities to coach,” he said.
He told the man: “My reason for coming out publicly the way I did was to allow people who are struggling with their sexuality to know they are not alone, that they have an ally who went through it and has come out the other side. It allows them to know that what they are feeling is valid.
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“I also added that I was not discussing my sexuality at team meetings because it was not relevant, but that I will not be changing who I am.”
Thompson later left the school to pursue another coaching opportunity and transferred to Viterbo University in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, to join the men’s volleyball team.
Despite the isolated criticism he faced, he’s certain he made the right decision by coming out and encourages other LGBT+ people to “take the leap of faith” when it feels right for them.
“I would never be where I am now if I hadn’t taken the chance to be myself and allow the world to see who I was,” he said.
“For those of you struggling with your sexuality, please know it is OK to not be OK. Find people whom you trust and talk to them and take the leap of faith when you are ready.
“Know that if and when you decide to let people know who you are that you are going to be welcomed with open arms into the amazing LGBT+ community.”