Saturday, December 06, 2014

Scott Heggart Shares His Story On Growing Up As A Gay Teen Who Loves To Play Sports

Scott Heggart
Last March, Scott Heggart, a 20-year-old university student spoke at an event in Burnaby sponsored by anti-homophobia in sports organization You Can Play (and co-hosted by the Burnaby Teachers' Association) about what it meant for him to come out as a gay teen involved in sports. Scott wanted to share his experience of trying to deal with homophobic bullying and coming out to family and friends. Kudos to Scott for stepping up. He is making a difference so that other young gay people can experience a lived equality.

Jennifer Moreau reports:
[Burnaby, B.C.] Scott Heggart first figured out he was interested in boys when he was about 12 or 13, but the Ottawa native, and all-round high school jock, kept it to himself and lived in denial.  
"Immediately, I rejected it. In hockey, and really in all sports, there's a lot of homophobia that goes on. Subconsciously hearing that from teammates and hearing that at school as well, I was overcome with fear I would be rejected," he said. "I basically spent the next year of my life in a mental hell I created for myself, mentally punishing myself for thoughts and feelings I couldn't control."

That first year, he did not tell anyone about his sexual orientation.
"I essentially tried to turn myself straight. At the end of that year, when I realized it wasn't going to work, it was basically rock bottom for me," he said. Heggart took a knife into the bathroom and thought about hurting himself. "I put myself in a very dangerous place," he said. 
He eventually came out to his sister, who handled it well. "She made it very clear right away that she was perfectly fine with that," Heggart said. His sister told their parents, who were also supportive, and then the rest of the family was told. From that point on, things only got better for Heggart, now a 20-year-old university student. 
In Grade 11, Heggart decided to come out to everyone else by joining Facebook and listing himself as "in a relationship" with another young man. "And then I added people, and I waited," he said. The next few days were stressful, he said, and it took people a while to realize he was gay. Soon after, he got a text from a teammate. "I heard the news. I am proud of you," it said. 
Heggart also wants other gay kids to know they are not alone. "The world is an enormous, enormous place, and you are absolutely not alone in what you are going through," he said. "When you move on from high school, you realize how big the world is." READ MORE
Check out the web site for You Can Play .