I’m an openly gay college athlete and many of the other players have privately expressed their concerns about changing and showering in the locker room with me. I’m not really sure what to do and wanted your advice.
My advice is to link them to this article. They need an education and this class is in session.
First and foremost, your straight teammates need to understand that they’ve been sharing locker rooms with gay men their entire lives. They just didn’t know it. There is nothing new or different about showering with you; the only difference is that you’ve had the courage to come out to them.
Second, their straight teammates are probably more keen to check out their bodies than other gay men. The truth is, the locker room can be a pretty intimidating place for gay guys, and most of us go out of our way to avoid any sideways glances or awkwardness. Straight guys, on the other hand, seem perfectly comfortable staring at other guys and even commenting on their packages. For most gay men, this is terrifying.
Third, it’s worth reminding your straight teammates that just because they are men and just because we are gay doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re even interested in looking. In other words, they need to stop flattering themselves.
But for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that your straight teammates are drop-dead gorgeous Adonises. And let’s pretend that you did actually take a lustful look at their nakedness. Is that such a terrible thing? Does you looking at them somehow rob them of their masculinity? Are they somehow lessened or diminished by your gaze? Absolutely not.
(In fact, you’re probably looking at them the same way that they look at women ALL THE TIME. But I digress.)
Finally, let’s not forget that straight guys are the ones with the power. It’s gay men who experience discrimination, who get teased and bullied for their sexual orientation and who are denied equality under the law. Straight guys aren’t victims in the locker room, or in life in general – and it’s not a cute look for them to pretend that they are.
In conclusion, my advice for your concerned straight teammates can be summed up in three simple words: Get over it.