Fonua, a senior telecommunications major at the Texas College, said his public outting is the result of adhering to the school’s “aggie code,” which promotes honesty.
“An Aggie does not lie, cheat or steal,” Fonua told the Battalion. “And if you’re living in the closet, you’re living a lie.”
Texas A&M has a checkered history in its treatment of LGBT individuals. The student government association tried to enact a rule that would allow students to opt-out of funding the schools LGBT support program, a cost of 2$ a year per student.
However, the student body president, John Claybrook, vetoed the bill citing the harm the bill had done to the schools reputation.
Fonua acknowledged this “Least-LGBT-friendly title” in his interview and said he was tired of defending his college’s reputation. “I think it’s a very small minority. Homophobia is at every university, it’s not just A&M. It’s everywhere. It might be a little more prevalent here, but I do think that people will sensationalize how something really is.”
Though the 2016 Rio Olympics are not in the plans for Fonua, as he’s decided to take an indefinite break from swimming, he admits his title of swimmer and gay man have both played a large role in his life. “It isn’t everything that I am, but it certainly is a big part of who I am. Much like being gay. Part of who I am, but not everything that I am.”