Nathan Alfson identifies himself as a gay Christian athlete. And now the Dell Rapids coach, 2012 Augustana graduate, and Pipestone native has decided to do so publicly. Why take the risk of becoming a political lightning rod?
I am writing my story to share with the world that it is OK to be who you are born as and feel confident about it. I have found that there are other people in the world just like me and I don’t have to feel alone any longer. I am a proud openly gay man with a great job as a program coordinator for an agency that serves adults with disabilities [Nate Alfson, "Young Gay High School Baseball Coach Finds Acceptance in Rural South Dakota," Outsports, 2014.08.05].
Alfson wants other South Dakotans in his situation to feel that same self-confidence... the same self-confidence that a majoritarian heterosexual like me can enjoy while holding my spouse's hand in a public park without a second thought:
...[K]now that there are people in the world who care about you and understand what you’re going through. Finding that support system first was the most helpful thing I did and reading other stories by openly gay athletes of how happy they are and how much support they have received allowed me to be confident enough to share my story.
We are all in this together and we can change this fear inside ourselves one story at a time. Make a difference in the world by being kind to one another and don’t be afraid to do good deeds to those around you. A smile goes a long way. Be you, be true, and never forget that you matter [Alfson, 2014.08.05].
Nate, we shouldn't have to call you brave for simply saying who you are and whom you love. But we do, and you are.
Let's see how Dell Rapids and South Dakota respond to Nate and to thousands of neighbors like him.