I graduated from Kansas State University at the tender age of 21. Not yet completely out to myself, I wasn’t aware of the resources available to LGBT students at that time. However, I WAS culturally savvy enough to know that it couldn’t have been much.
You know the line . . . I had gay friends.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time at K-State immensely. It was the best decision I’d made up until that time in my life to transfer from Wichita State and live in a dorm independently. And although I later also graduated from Wichita State, my heart remains first and foremost with the Wildcats. I dislike the saying “I bleed purple,” but . . . well . . . uh, I bleed purple.
Fast forward 20 (or so) years and I’m so proud to see the plethora of organizations, events, and support for the LGBTQIA+ community coming out of KSU. Wow! I couldn’t believe it when I saw a list of the organizations and the cutting edge things, i.e. the Gender Collective, that were happening in Manhattan. So I decided to dedicate this year’s back-to-school issue to my beloved Wildcats.
And then Scott Frantz came out publicly. What timing!
The KSU sophomore starting offensive left tackle told ESPN’s Holly Rowe in July he is gay and that he had come out to his teammates the year before. And guess what? His teammates embraced him, told him he is still their brother, and that it doesn’t change how they see him. In other words, all the right things.
“I’ve never felt so loved and so accepted ever in my life than when I did that,” Frantz told ESPN. As I read the article and the ensuing editorial I, geekishly, pumped my fist. Yes! I was so proud of my team.
I held my breath as I got to the point in the story with coach Bill Snyder’s reaction. I feared the football god would say something that knocked him down a tier in my eyes. It was still football after all, the epitome of anti-gay machismo. But, alas, the good man didn’t let me down. I gave another fist pump and cheered silently.
“ What impressed me about this story is that Scott really thought that he could assist others who were experiencing perhaps the same thing or something very similar to this,” Snyder said.
He went on to say, “I was quite comfortable that our team would be very receptive and that they would treat him as they always have - as his teammate and someone that they cared about. And they did.” Yay!