After our loss at the North Carolina Polls, I feel that today is a day where we really need a Why It Gets Better* post. Outsports is reporting on Josh Dixion, an Olympic gymnast hopeful, who, if he succeeds, would be the first out gymnast to compete in the Olympics:
The Stanford grad took a big step toward that goal at the U.S. Men’s Qualifier on Saturday in Colorado Springs, finishing second overall out of the 72 competitors. He also tied for wins in two events: floor exercise and high bar. It was a game-changing come-back performance for Dixon, who tore his Achilles tendon last spring.
Still recovering from his Achilles injury, Dixon moved to the Olympic training center in December 2011, along with five other gymnasts. The training has paid off so far, with his strong finish on Saturday. The next hurdle for Dixon is the Visa Championships, June 7-10 in St. Louis. The top 15 finishers at that meet then go on to the Olympic Trials, June 28-July 1, in his home town of San Jose. From there, six men will be chosen to represent the United States at the London Olympics.
Even as he gets closer to his Olympic dreams, and his focus narrows more than ever on his training and competition, Dixon is ready to talk about his sexual orientation.
In his sophomore year at Stanford, one of his best friends on the gymnastics team at the University of Illinois came out to him. Dixon reciprocated the revelation; Instantly, they had a mutual support structure with another gay collegiate athlete.
When he started exploring his sexuality in his junior year, he quickly learned he wasn’t the only gay male athlete at Stanford, as he was soon dating another varsity athlete. When some members of the gymnastics team noticed Dixon was spending a lot of time with one particular friend, Dixon said they were quite comfortable bringing it up.
“Who’s this guy you’ve been hanging out with?” One of them asked.
Josh told them he was dating the other male student.
“Oh that’s cool,” was the response.
What was particularly cool to them was Josh’s willingness to share that very personal part of his life with them.
Why it gets better is ‘cool’ is this is the way the world is trending. As more and more LGBT people come out and folks learn about them, they are more ‘cool’ with them, and by extension, more ‘cool’ with LGBTs being equals. This attitude will continue to grow. Though, we may loose some yardage (to utilize a sports term) from time to time, as displayed by North Carolina’s vote, it is yardage that we will regain as we make that inevitable drive toward the goal line of equality. Josh Dixon will only help to move the ball forward. Be ready to do your touchdown dance.
*Why It Gets Better is a series of postings showing, real-time, concrete, tangible ways that life is getting better for LGBT people.