T.J. House celebrated the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act by sharing his true self with his fans.
The former Major League Baseball player came out as gay in a poignant Facebook post on Thursday. He also announced his engagement to fiancé Ryan Neitzel.
“I’ve struggled my entire life with being comfortable in my own skin. I have purposefully distanced myself from people for the sake of trying to protect myself,” wrote House, a pitcher who played for Cleveland and Toronto from 2014 to 2017. “It’s disheartening how one simple thing can change an individual’s opinion of you in a matter of seconds. It has taken me years to wake up every morning and tell myself that you are loved for you, the one that’s deep down inside that you’ve never truly let out.”
“I’ve been loved my whole life for what I did as a career, and it carried me for the longest time,” he continued. “Eventually though, it’s a bandage that covers a wound that needs fresh air to heal. You have to rip it off at some point if you truly want to get better. Shame has kept me quiet all these years, but Love has finally set me free.”
House, a Louisiana native, is the first former MLB player in 23 years to identify as a member of the LGBTQ community and only the third in history to do so. He follows Glenn Burke, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics in the 1980s, and Billy Bean, who played for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres in the 1990s.
Though grateful for his career in professional baseball, House wrote in his Facebook post that he eventually came to view his success as a “drug” to “numb what was really going on inside.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I loved every moment of my playing days, and I would go the same route again if I had the chance (with one big change),” he explained. “But even with all the money, fancy cars, nice clothes and a little tiny bit of fame, I would go home every night wishing I could change. Deep down I wanted something more, I wanted to be loved not for what I did, but who I was.”
Later, House said he felt encouraged to address his sexuality after following the House’s passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which codifies protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. He and Neitzel were also present at the White House on Tuesday to witness President Joe Biden signing the historic civil rights bill into law.
The legislation, he said, gave him “the confidence to get engaged to the person I love.” He then enthusiastically noted that Neitzel had “said yes.”
“I’m finally healing, and days like today are what helps me continue to grow into the person I’ve been all along, one I’ve locked up for 20 plus years,” House wrote. “Today I am Loved.”
Bean, who is now the MLB’s senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, was among those to applaud House for his announcement.
“This is a great day for the league and baseball,” he told Outsports.
Credit: Source link