When did you begin to think that you
might be gay?
Maybe some people can pinpoint it, but
it’s hard. I feel like maybe I knew as early
as second grade. …I knew something was
there; I just didn’t like girls. I didn’t know
exactly what that meant. Growing up in a
heteronormative world you’re taught this
is what happens [dating the opposite sex].
When you think you’re gay, it takes awhile
to understand that—especially as a kid.
What was your high school life like?
In high school, I had no thought of dating
anybody, no thought of acting on certain
feelings of wanting to get with a guy or
letting it be known. I dated some girls
in high school because I felt pressured.
I didn’t want to date girls. I felt pressure
from friends…a lot from my teammates.
You could lie, or beat around the bush.
;e lying took a mental toll on me. I
had to pretend, to be someone I wasn’t.
It took a lot to keep up that lie. Fast
forward…that year in college [at Wake
Forest University] was hard for me, as
well. ;at was the last real year where I
was thinking: What’s going on here? Am
I going to have to marry a woman?
Did you think then of confiding in your
Not at all. I always talked to them, but
that topic wasn’t one that was open to
me. I never felt comfortable talking about
my sexuality with them until I came out.
Maybe I didn’t feel it was OK. Maybe I
didn’t feel that I’d be completely accepted.
In the end, they were completely supportive. For kids now…it’s a lot more accepted,
and kids are coming out earlier…knowing
they will be loved and supported. And I
would have been, too. It was going to be
a big step for me, and it wasn’t going to
How did you deal with hearing homo-
I have a thick skin. I had a unique experience with that type of language because
it’s language I would use as well as my
dearest friends at B-CC. I knew they
didn’t mean it that way, so I brushed it o;.
My friends at the soccer academy would
call someone they didn’t like ‘gay.’ It was
tough for me. We have work to do with
the use of that language.
You spent a year at Wake Forest University. Describe your time at college.
It was an interesting time. I had to
grow up. I graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in three years
because I knew I wanted to kick-start my
[soccer] career. I had an o;er to go play
for the TSG 1899 Ho;enheim reserve
team in Germany or go to college and
then turn pro. ;ere was a lot I had to
learn. I intended to continue at Wake,
but in the summer after my freshman
year , D.C. United o;ered me a
very good contract. Plus, they worked
it out that I was able to transfer credits
to George Washington University and
continue my education.
So how did you finally come out to
After I signed a contract with D.C.
United, that first year I said, I have to
figure this out. ;e first people I came
out to were [gay] people I was meeting.
During my second season, I told my two
dearest friends from B-CC and some
other friends, including my D.C. teammate Chris Rolfe, who went to Wake.
;ey were supportive, of course, but at
first they thought I was messing with
them. But I was dropping lots of hints.
I’d say, ‘Oh, that guy looks really attractive.’ ;en when we were at our house in
Bethany Beach [in 2015], my sister Bethany actually asked me, so I told her and
my older sister, Erin, who wasn’t at the
beach. I think my brother Trevor already
had guessed, and my younger brother,
Tyler, may have heard it from my close
friends who I’d already told. ;ey never
urged me to tell our parents; it took a full
year more before I told my parents.
How did you approach telling your
That was the toughest for me. A lot
of people knew, and I felt great; I was
thankful I started this process. I actually
told our best family friends first to gauge
their reaction. To be honest, I got kind of
a neutral reaction from the friends, and
they said it might be hard for my parents
to wrap their heads around it. A lot had
to do with the religious aspect for me. I
grew up in a religious family. When I told
my mother’s closest friend, I got the support I needed from her—but it was hardly
like, ‘OK, tomorrow go and tell your parents.’ She said, ‘I don’t know how they will
react.’ And I knew it was going to be hard.
And was it?
I told them in the spring [of 2016],
before my last season with D.C. United.
;e three of us just had dinner together.
It went well, but it was very emotional
over the two hours we talked. ;ey were
Collin Martin, a
Twitter last June
that he is gay.