As a queer cross-country and track and field athlete, I know what it feels like to experience adversity in many different forms. This adversity has shaped me to be the person that I am today, and I would not change my experiences in my life. I worked hard for many years to become a great runner in order to:

  1. Be good at something that generates respect and ends the hardship of bullying and social exclusion
  2. Move to a place where I could experience queer life/culture as well as pursue my athletic and academic dreams, and
  3. Compete and actively represent the University of Minnesota in the best way possible as this track program gave me an amazing opportunity to fulfill my dreams
Coming to Minnesota I was committed to becoming the best runner possible, but I also made my decision because I wanted to grow as an openly queer student-athlete as there are many facets to me besides being a runner. Running for Minnesota was the best decision I had ever made because, for once in my life, I felt as though I could live a life in which I was my complete, authentic self and I could grow as the person I wanted to become. I chose to come to this program because I knew I could excel at a high level athletically and academically without having to worry about whether people would accept me as a gay man.

Discontinuing men’s track and field kills the program that gave me a home and the opportunity to grow into the proud openly gay student-athlete I am today. This decision denies many kids the opportunity to fulfill similar dreams and aspirations at a University where they do not have to worry or be ashamed of their sexual orientation or gender identity. If not for this program that provided a welcoming community to me, I would not have ever experienced the same love and support from my teammates and coaches and I would not have grown into the confident and proud openly gay student-athlete that I am today. "