Out Former Division 1 Football Star: 'I'm More at Peace' After Quitting Football

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday September 23, 2020

Jake Bain
Jake Bain  (Source:Jake Bain / Instagram)

Former Division 1 football star Jake Bain says that he's "more at peace" now that he's left football behind. He's also refined his sexual identity: Bain now says he's pansexual, as opposed to straight or gay, reports Men's Health.

Though he admitted to missing the sport, Bain said, "I definitely am happier than I was a year ago."

The magazine profiled Bain as part of a series of 20 American men who are 20 years of age. Bain had achieved notoriety as an out Division 1 football player on a college team after having already made headlines when, in 2017, as a junior at a Missouri high school, he came out in a speech he delivered for National Coming Out Day.

Bain made more headlines when he walked away from football in 2019. Now, Men's Health noted, Bain is pursuing a degree in sports psychology.

Earlier this summer, Bain expressed himself at greater length in an op-ed he wrote for Teen Vogue.

"There was not a lot of representation for me growing up in the LGBTQ+ community, especially being Black," Bain recalled in the piece. Even before he came out, he knew that announcing himself as anything other than heterosexual would have consequences, due to his prominence as a young athlete.

"I led my high school team to the state title before I came out, and was heavily recruited by many Division 1 football schools," Bain wrote.

He went on to add: "My fears weren't all unfounded. After I came out, many of those recruiters who had been preparing to offer me full scholarships stopped communicating with me, seemingly for fear of having a gay player on their team."

Bain also found himself targeted by the anti-LGBTQ Westboro Baptist Church. His school and community rose to the occasion, with hundreds of counter-protesters showing up to show their support for the young man.

But Bain shared that his choices were not solely based on his own personal desires. He knew he could be a role model and an inspiration to others.

"Because I had this larger goal in mind, I decided to write a speech for National Coming Out Day and present it in front of my entire school in assembly," he recalled.

Though he did encounter anti-LGBTQ animus on the playing field and online, Bain said that it was all worth it because now LGBTQ youth from all over the globe write to tell him "that my story has inspired them to be themselves."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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