College basketball player Nathan Fort has faced fear, assault and homophobia. Yet, he managed to move on with his life and come to terms with his sexuality and his authentic self.
In high school, Nathan Fort had a hard time, as he liked boys but he could not express his feelings. He found refuge in sports and religion, not denying to himself that he liked boys. But he was confused and felt lonely.
“Even with some friends and attention, I felt like an outcast. In high school my loneliness and self-hatred were at an all-time high, while my self-worth plummeted. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know where I was going in life.”
After high-school, Fort went to college at Eccelesia, a religious institution located in rural Arkansas, a place near to his home. Then he transferred to Bethel College and joined the basketball team. His firs gay sexual experience there was traumatic.
“Even though I never reported the incident to anyone, and this guy was not charged with any crime, I know in my heart that he forced himself on me and that’s rape in my mind. It’s important to me to share this now because I know many other guys have been in similar situations. After that episode I went back to dating girls. I wasn’t emotionally ready for what ‘being gay’ suddenly meant in my head after that experience. It took me another year to find the courage to be my true self.”
It was a terrific event in Fort’s life that made him even more confused, and made him doubt himself. Once again, Nathan found the power to move on and got back to his true self. He came out to everyone as gay and everything turned out just fine.
“It turned out to be so much easier than I suspected. I spoke to each teammate, one by one, and for the most part they have supported me. My coming out didn’t change the way the coaches treat me either; They consider me as any regular basketball player, not ‘the gay basketball player.'”
His story is inspirational for most of us who face impediments on our journey, to those who lose connection with their authentic self, or have a hard time overcoming difficult situations.