Salem Virginia Teen Tennis Star Comes Out on Twitter with Powerful Statement
Few of us have the luck to come out and get a positive reception – and for those of us growing up in conservative strong holds, it can be even harder to be accepted, if not exiled from family and friends. But Mikey Drougas, a high school tennis star from Salem Virginia, has defied the odds with a powerful note he published on Twitter.
“At the time I was scared, as I said in my note,” Drougas told Outsports. “I was anxious to see what people thought. I didn’t think people would be mean to me, but I didn’t know if people would be awkward about it.”
The reaction has been, in his words, “phenomenal.” In fact, he hasn’t had a single negative response.
Drougas won the Virginia AA state high school championship last year as a junior, beating his opponent in the state final, 7-5, 6-1. This year he’ll be going for back-to-back state titles as a senior.
Here’s the copy of his note published in early November:
I guess I don’t really know how to start this note. Not really even sure why I am writing it to you all. Whatever the motivation, I’m so blessed to say what I am about to on my own terms.
Not fitting stereotypes is nice sometimes. I have been able to avoid a lot of ignorant bullshit growing up. I’m very lucky in that respect. Maybe I feel an obligation to speak up and not stay in the shadows anymore or maybe it’s because I am starting to feel comfortable in my own skin. Never in my life have I ever felt truly open or free, through this note I see liberation at the end of the tunnel. That’s dope. I wouldn’t be the person I am now without the angels who heard my story two years ago and accepted me for who I am. You are always with me as a friendly reminder that it does indeed get better even when darkness is all I see.
I feel like I am in a place now where I am secure enough to laugh and/or roll my eyes at those who don’t respect/agree with what it means to be attracted to the same sex, but I’m also in a place where I want others to know more about me. A person’s sexuality by no means defines a person, but it definitely has shaped how I see the world. Because of my identity, I have put up a wall out of fear of rejection for far too long. I see missed opportunities and friendships b/c of that notion of rejection. I guess this note is making up for lost time.
Through seeing the world and telling those people who heard my story, I have been able to rid myself of that unfound notion. The world looks brighter now. A world that everyone should see.
There are many misconceptions and stereotypes out there about what it means to be gay. I suppose I hope to shatter those misconceptions. Since I am able to write this on my own terms, I have been able to meet people and have them know me as the tennis player or the broke boy who loves 2pac. No matter how you know me, it is not for being gay.
I guess my point/hope is that being gay doesn’t define who a person is or a person’s goodness. Their actions do and I hope to be known for how I treat/respect others. I look at our planet and see times changing. I have so much hope for the future. I see Salem as a microcosm of the world and that’s sweet.
Since I came out to my close friends and family two years ago, acceptance and tolerance has grown to levels that I could have never imagined. I always hear people say “be the change you want to see in the world” – I see this note as a little step to being the change that I want to see. My hope is that through this more understanding can be gained about my life and in general about people who are cast as different or outcasts by society. I’m by no means in a place to preach but I guess I want those who are “different” to know that even if it seems like it won’t get better, it will. The world is huge and for the most part full of love and good people. People that will embrace your identity.
Sometimes I get frustrated by the lack of progress I see regarding tolerance. Although writing this note is scary, I think only good can result. I hope people see me as just another teenager figuring things out and having fun in the meantime. The only way for progress to be made is by people like myself speaking up. Once people see that one’s orientation does not define what type of person someone is, then real change can occur. Shit. I might not be alive when equality is achieved everywhere.
I guess this very small note is just a way to help get equality at some point. Equality will come when people meet a gay person and say “damn, this guy is like me. why tf can he get fired solely for who he loves though or why can’t he have a family or why can’t he get married?” Once people meet someone who is gay, then “gay rights” become more personal and casually saying who can and can’t marry isn’t so easy. Once people [know] an LGBT person, they will see that love is love. We live in times with so much hate. To define different kinds of love and to say there are good and bad types of love is wrong. I look forward to living in a world where my kind of love is protected under US law.
I want to end this note thanking you. The pronoun you is very vague and I don’t even know who exactly I am talking about. I guess I am talking about the people who I currently know who are accepting and make me feel comfortable being myself. I am also talking/thanking those who I don’t know very well, but still foster tolerance and diversity. When I see someone on Twitter/Facebook post/like something regarding equality or acceptance, I usually smile. That shit means so much to me. It truly gives me hope. The little things like that are what kept me going when I felt like being myself was an uphill, never ending battle. Like being in an environment where I feel comfortable enough to post this because of the people I am surrounded by on a daily basis is fucking sweet. I feel so lucky.
So to all who will at some point read this, THANK YOU SO FUCKING MUCH. you are the change.
GLAAD released this video below in honor of this year’s Spirit Day, a day when millions of people around the world wear purple to stand up for LGBT youth that are bullied everyday. Harold Moss, Creative Director of FlickerLab, created the short animated film which stresses how big of an impact your harmful words can have. Here’s [...]September 29, 2015
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