As someone who played football and other sports growing up, it can be incredibly hard for anyone who identifies as LGBT to come out in an arena that is hell bent on masculinity and potentially homophobic. San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers has just done what no man or woman has done before in the history of the NFL: come out of the closet as a gay woman.
The announcement came today, when Katie had a conversation with OutSports about her journey to where she is now. Ultimately, like many other members of the LGBT community, one of her goals in all of this is to inspire others.
"No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are," Sowers said. "There are so many people who identify as LGBT in the NFL, as in any business, that do not feel comfortable being public about their sexual orientation. The more we can create an environment that welcomes all types of people, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the more we can help ease the pain and burden that many carry every day."
In the piece, she touches on how she originally came out to the assistant GM of the Atlanta Falcons Scott Pioli during a simple conversation about life back home. After the talk, she found that everything remained peachy keen for the talented athlete and eventual coach.
"I could not have asked for a more open-minded and accepting group of people to work with. I never once felt judged and I was treated just like anyone would want to be treated: as a typical person working to build a career."
She also thinks that there can be an openly gay coach in the NFL, as people need to get past the sexuality and see that what they are doing is their job.
"I do believe that an openly gay male coach would be accepted just like anyone else," Sowers said. "What most people need to remember is that the NFL is a place of work for these players and it is a job that provides for their families. They are professionals and what you will find is they act like professionals in everything they do."
Very proud of Katie for coming out, and hopefully she will break down the walls for the many others who identify as LGBT in the professional sports world!