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Gays In Sports is Still an Uphill Battle

Professional football is slow to embrace inclusiveness. The hypermasculine nature of the sport coupled with the locker room setting make coming out as a gay man more difficult than it might be in other industries. How can we remove the stigma so that LGBTQ athletes can feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to the field AND reach their full potential? Is it possible to finally have gays in sports without repercussions? 

Landon Foster played football at the University of Kentucky where he was an All-American on the field and a two-time Academic All-American. He studied finance and marketing, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a 3.92 GPA. In April, Landon delivered a TED Talk at TEDxUSF: Breaking Barriers to address the fact that he did not come out during his career as a college athlete and encourage others to live authentically and show up as their full selves. He still battled the stigma of gays in sports.

Landon joins us to discuss the inspiration for his TED Talk, explaining his regret around not coming out in college and how his performance on the field suffered as a result. Landon discusses why sports are slow to embrace LGBT inclusiveness, how his team and its fans might have reacted, and how the climate has changed for LGBTQ athletes in the past few years. Listen in to understand why Landon is pursuing a career in financial services and get his advice for young LGBTQ athletes!

Listen to Landon’s story:

Topics Covered

The inspiration for Landon’s TED Talk

  • Give back, inspire others
  • Path easier for next generation of athletes

Why Landon’s performance suffered his senior year

  • Kim Davis story in local news
  • Classes, relationship AND considering NFL

Why gays in sports is still such a barrier

  • Hypermasculine nature of football
  • Concerns about sharing the locker room

How Landon’s team, coaches, and fans might have reacted

  • Received support since coming out
  • Wishes he would have had the courage

Landon’s take on the role of religion in team sports

  • Players bring based on where/how raised
  • No pressure from school

How the climate has changed for LGBTQ athletes

  • Better across the board in terms of visibility
  • Depends on sport, region and team culture

Landon’s decision to pursue a career in financial services

  • Technical aspects appeal to athletes
  • Accepting, inclusive industry

Landon’s advice for young LGBTQ athletes

  • Come out to yourself first
  • Conversations with the coach, parents, and friends


Connect with Landon

 Landon on Twitter

Landon on Instagram


 Landon’s TED Talk

University of Surrey Study

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