My mission is simple: End bullying and help everyone reach their fullest potential by living an honest life, comfortable in their own skin.
I came out to my mom in the ninth grade. Even though the story is kind of boring (comparatively), I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was leaning against a wall in our house at the time, not doing anything in particular. For whatever reason, at that moment I let my mom know I was gay. It wasn’t planned. It just popped out. She gave me a hug, smiled and told me she loved me, and I went back upstairs to my room. Simple as that.
But that doesn’t mean life was easy growing up. I was bullied in every way imaginable, but the worst was the verbal abuse. (I was always a strong, tough and tall girl, so nobody wanted to mess with me from a physical standpoint.) It hit rock bottom when I was in seventh grade. I was in a new school with people I didn’t know, and the teasing about my height, appearance and sexuality went on nonstop, every day.
People called me a dude and said there was no way I could be a woman. Some even wanted me to prove it to them. During high school and college, when we traveled for games, people would shout the same things while also using racial epithets and terrible homophobic slurs.
No one deserves to go through that type of abuse. When I was young, I put on a face as if it didn’t hurt, but it’s painful to be called hateful names and made fun of because people thought my feet were huge or that I looked like a guy. It was hard to hear antigay slurs under their breath whenever I walked by them. It always confused me; I never thought that to be beautiful, you had to look any certain way at all. In my opinion, you’re beautiful because you are you.
As a result of my personal experience, I am committed to using my platform as a professional athlete to advocate for and encourage those who feel like they do not have a voice. That’s why I have partnered with the It Gets Better Project whose mission is to inspire hope for young people facing harassment and bullying. Its time for bullying to end and its my duty to be a light that inspires others.