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College Basketball Player Comes Out After Being Raped

Nathan Fort
Image Via Nathan Fort's Facebook

Nathan Fort, a religious, gay athlete, came to terms with his sexuality despite facing sexual assault and the homophobia of rural Arkansas.

Writing for OutSports, Nathan Fort opens up about his extremely raw and emotional coming out. As a basketball player in high school and college, Fort found a sport that offered him an identity: popularity, friends, and success. But he didn't truly find himself until he came out of the gymnasium.

Nathan Fort.

Contrary to many, Fort found solace in his religion. Though he never felt shunned by that institution, the college athlete faced teasing from classmates and rural Arkansas residents. When other kids sneakily called him "gay," Fort found comfort and normalcy on the basketball court. Still, the sport wasn't enough.

"Even with some friends and attention, I felt like an outcast. In high school my loneliness and self-hatred were at an all-time high, while my self-worth plummeted. I didn't know who I was. I didn't know where I was going in life."

For those of us who recognized our same-sex attraction in high school, we can understand some of the discomfort Fort felt. Following high school, he attended Eccelesia College, a religious institution located close to home. He stayed there for a year before transferring to Bethel College. At Bethel, he joined the basketball team and first began experimenting with his sexuality. Unfortunately that experimentation led to a terrible assault that sent Fort reeling and scared:

"Even though I never reported the incident to anyone, and this guy was not charged with any crime, I know in my heart that he forced himself on me and that's rape in my mind. It's important to me to share this now because I know many other guys have been in similar situations. After that episode I went back to dating girls. I wasn't emotionally ready for what 'being gay' suddenly meant in my head after that experience. It took me another year to find the courage to be my true self."

Once he took that step forward, Fort was pleasantly surprised by the receptiveness of his teammates, coaches and friends.

"It turned out to be so much easier than I suspected. I spoke to each teammate, one by one, and for the most part they have supported me. My coming out didn't change the way the coaches treat me either; They consider me as any regular basketball player, not 'the gay basketball player.'"

Nathan Fort found the strength to overcome his traumatic assault, the negativity, and his own self-doubt. His tale is both a warning to be safe and a motivation to be your authentic self.

Check out the entire article at OutSports.

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