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Basketball pro Daniel Arcos comes out in emotional post reflecting on the ‘fear and shame’ of being in the closet

Vic Parsons June 19, 2020
Basketball player Daniel Arcos comes out as gay in emotional letter

Pro basketball player Daniel Arcos. (Instagram/Daniel_Arcos9)

Chilean basketball player Daniel Arcos has come out as gay in an emotional letter that reveals the pain of being in the closet.

Arcos, who plays for the CD Castro team in the top Chile pro basketball league, said he had “decided to love and value” himself by coming out.

The player, 26, declared himself “proud and free” by writing and sharing the three-page letter, which followed a long time spent struggling with shame and self-acceptance.

The Homosexual Movement of Integration and Liberation (MOVILH) – Chile’s largest LGBT+ rights organisation – said that Arcos coming out is “making a significant contribution to other players who may find themselves in a situation of grief or pain for not being able to reveal who they are”.

“I waited for this day for a long time, a personal challenge with new [rainbow] colours on my shirt, colours that before I looked with shame and that today I decide to wear with pride. Despite the passage of time, there is still a taboo in sports, which in my case is basketball,” he wrote, according to Outsports.

“I remember walking one afternoon after having had an experience with another man.

“I had feelings of guilt, I felt bad, lonely, as if I had done something really bad.

“I was afraid to share it with someone and be judged, as I was already doing with myself. I continued with my ‘normal life,’ with a lot of sport and study, hoping that time would take care of doing its thing, giving me the necessary tranquility and that it would remain as one more experience of those that become part of our lives.

 

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A post shared by Daniel Arcos (@daniel_arcos9) on

“My life continued, and I kept growing and meeting goals. In the field of professional basketball, little by little, I started to earn my place… An athlete’s life not only involves games with victories or defeats, but also brings with it a lifestyle that delivers everything. Several times it made me feel out of place, and I felt that I could not really be who I was. …

“I avoided uncomfortable questions, I lied and silenced myself when I thought that something was not fair, thus seeking to fit in, feel part of, be one of my teammates, since many times homosexuality was manifested as mockery and insult, synonymous for ‘weakness and little manhood’.

“This discomfort was the reason that I thought of abandoning this beautiful sport. …

“Many days and nights I had recurring thoughts and was tired, so I decided to love and value myself.

“It was time to move forward. I began to tell my close friends, then my family, always with the fear of being judged. My sister, mother, father and friends all has the same response: ‘You just have to be happy, I am here for you, the rest does not matter.’

 

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A post shared by Daniel Arcos (@daniel_arcos9) on


“These were words that help me forgive everything I have lived in the past and that today give me the courage to write this. …

“I know that this message might generate ridicule, discomfort and even hate, but I have the privilege of having my family and friends on my team. I decide to take off this heavy backpack that I carried for years, but that at the same time made me very strong.

“Everyone has their experiences and they experience them in their own way, but the important thing is to live as we want as long as we are happy. …

“I want to be part of the change and build a society in which we treat each other with respect and can be happy. I am willing to face what comes despite the uncertainty that exists with what may happen after publishing this, but I think we are in time to continue moving forward and eliminate closets that should not exist. …

“I am convinced that sport can include us all … but as long as issues like this are not visible and made natural it will be difficult to advance. … Respect is essential and the minimum we need to live in a better society free of prejudice.”

Arcos later shared a photo of himself holding a basketball and smiling.

“Thank you for the messages of support, signs of affection and respect. The tranquility that I have with myself is incredible,” he said.

 

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A post shared by Daniel Arcos (@daniel_arcos9) on

 

More: Chile, closet, coming out, daniel arcos

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