When Jake Bain wrapped up his John Burroughs (Mo.) high school football career, he finished with 50 touchdowns, 3,700 rushing yards and a monster 255-yard game in a state championship victory. He is a three-year starter at running back and has signed to play football at Indiana State.
He’s also openly gay, which makes him the first openly gay high school athlete in St. Louis, and perhaps the first openly gay high school star in the entire state of Missouri.
“Once people realize that me being gay has nothing to do with the kind of person I am — once they figure out who I am as a person — I think they might overcome any type of stereotypes that they may put on me,” Bain told St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK. …
“My main reason for coming out was not necessarily for me. I have always been comfortable with myself and how people view me. For me, it was to try and reach out to people who aren’t comfortable coming out. I feel like, especially within athletics, there’s a stigma. I don’t think being an athlete and gay really collide.”
For Bain, sexuality and his openness about it were key factors in his college decision as well. Before he committed to Indiana State, Bain told KSDK that he had a long conversation with the Sycamores’ coach before agreeing to sign on to play in Terre Haute.
“I had a meeting with the head coach, Kurt Mallory and I sat him down with my family and said ‘I love the place. I love everything about Indiana State but before I commit the next four years of my life, I want you to know I am an openly gay person and that is something that is a part of my life.’ I knew he would accept me because that is the kind of person he is. He told me he had coached gay players in the past.”
That Mallory had coached gay players in the past is surely a comfort (if perhaps a surprise) and also yet another factor that points to Bain’s pride and courage in facing down any potential discrimination head on. He wasn’t worried about how he would be received at Indiana State, he was worried about how the program would cope with his own self-avowed openness of his sexuality.
All of that should help ensure that Bain can celebrate his successes and failures in public however he likes. That includes the way he commemorated his final high school performance: By walking across the field and hugging his boyfriend.