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Open Letter to Congratulate Conner Mertens for Coming Out as Bisexual

More and more LGBTQ people are stepping forward to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity and finding an increasingly receptive public. Each time someone does so, their bravery multiplies and inspires others to cast off the shadow of the closet and live more fully.


This past week, Conner Mertens, a freshman football player at Willamette University, came out to his teammates and to the public—the first time a football player at the college level has done so while still an active player. What makes Conner’s recent coming out especially significant to our community is that he came out as bisexual, naming his identity and his truth.


The Bisexual Resource Center applauds Conner’s bravery to join the ranks of the out LGBTQ community. We know how difficult it can be to come out as bisexual and Conner will endure a unique response that is different from that which you experience when you come out as gay or lesbian. Due to his youthful age, we know that many people will cast doubt on Conner’s self-identity, as we have seen this happen to many bi people before him. We encourage our own LGBTQ community to instead celebrate and support Conner for his courage to be the first out college football player.


In an inspiring coming out letter to his hometown, Mertens emphasized that his act of coming out was to give others hope; "You are not alone. You do not need to come out but you do need to know that you do not have to go at this by yourself. The aloneness you're feeling is temporary and it will get better…I made the decision that if I could prevent one person from feeling that self-hatred, loneliness, desperation and a thousand other emotions that I felt, I would. I will be damned if I let anyone tell you that you are wrong or weird or not normal.”


Conner’s compassionate words resonate deeply for many of us. We have felt the loneliness and desperation of hiding our true selves, and once revealed, we want others to know they are not alone and they have a community. And we want Conner and others to know that there is bi community that will support you and provide a sense of belonging and understanding for you. Check out the resources at the BRC website and reach out to us and the other bi community resources you will find there.


Congratulations and welcome to the community, Conner! And to the many, many other LGBTQ athletes in the locker rooms across this country who remain hidden, we know you are there and we wish you strength, confidence, and safety to find the right time to come out. It doesn’t have to be today, but when you are ready, we are here.


The Bisexual Resource Center

PO BOX 170796 BOSTON MA 02117 • 617 424 9595 • BRC@BIRESOURCE.NET