It’s been a remarkable couple of weeks for University of Massachusetts star Derrick Gordon, who came out of the closet to widespread praise earlier this month. In a new interview about his coming out story, Gordon talks about his many years spent in the closet and explains how deeply scarring they were to his life.
During his interview with Sirius XM Progress, Gordon explained that being in the closet left him emotionally shattered on many occasions.
“I cried most of the nights when I was in the closet just because it starts to take a toll on you just because you’re worried about how people are going to think about you and what they’re going to say about you,” Gordon said.
He explained that he first thought about coming out of the closet earlier in the year, especially after seeing NBA star Jason Collins come out as gay last year. However, the decision didn’t become final until after Collins, who was seemingly blacklisted after coming out, scored a long-term contract with the Brooklyn Nets.
“He had a big impact,” Gordon explained. “I was talking to him as well throughout the whole process. It was exciting when I heard he was going back into the NBA; the Brooklyn Nets. I was still unsure. They said he had like a five or ten day contract. And that didn’t really solidify my guarantee in coming out. So I waited and waited, and then eventually, he got a [longer term] contract, and I was like, “Boom!” When that happened, I was like, ‘I’m coming out soon. I just don’t know when.’ So after the NCAA tournament and everything, I thought it would be the best time to do it in off-season.”
Gordon offered up some advice to other young LGBT kids who are scared to come out of the closet, saying that it’s worth the risk to live your truth out in the open.
“Take advantage of everything that you have in front of you,” he continued. “Don’t wait because you’re scared. Don’t wait until you’re 35 or 40-years-old and done playing the sport that you love. Because it’s stressful to live that way.”
Gordon found the strength and inspiration to come out of the closet and is trying to share that wisdom and strength with the world. Read what else he had to say about his coming out process and the infamous Westboro Baptist Church after the cut. – nicholas robinson