Monday, February 03, 2014

Ari-Pekka Liukkonen Comes Out ... And So Does Chandler Whitney

Ari-Pekka Liukkonen wanted to some out for a long time now, but he decided that now is the right time, as the world prepares for Russia’s hosting of the Sochi Olympics.
"I wanted to start a broader discussion in connection with Sochi, because it’s sad that the legislation in Russia restricts the human rights of young people and others. … In the future I would hope that elite athletes and other people will not find homosexuality to be any kind of news." — Ari-Pekka Liukkonen.
Liukkonen, who suffers from mycoplasma, competed at the 2012 Olympics in London and took a bronze medal in the 4x50m mixed freestyle relay at the European Championships in the same year. Liukkonen is now targeting the Rio Olympics in two years, hoping to win the gold in the 50 meter freestyle.

But more importantly than that, he is the first gay Finnish athlete to come out of the closet during his active career because, like a great many gay men and women, he struggled with his orientation, which kept him closeted … until now.
"As the matter wasn’t discussed, I tried to forget about it, but during high school I began to accept that I am made this way. Acceptance hasn’t necessarily been easy, but it hasn’t been horribly difficult either. This has been a long, slow process for me, but now I’m there. It’s a really great feeling that I can finally be myself." — Ari-Pekka Liukkonen.
We are, too, and so we’d like to send you a copy of The Gay Agenda and the Obligatory Coming Out Toaster Oven.

Welcome out, Ari, welcome out, and let’s give you the last word:

"I hope that in Finland we can get to the stage where we don’t need to talk about this anymore as soon as possible. Homosexuality is the same kind of characteristic as whether a person has blue or brown eyes, or whether they are left- or right-handed."
And ....

Chandler Whitney, a baseball player at Walla Walla Community College in Eastern Washington returned to school after his break, and at the team's first practice, Chandler decided to tell his teammates how he spent his vacation ... which was with his boyfriend, the newly out Conner Mertens of Willamette University [see Connor's coming out HERE].

At that first practice, Chandler stood up in front of the team, said he had contemplated whether to tell them a secret or not, and shared a "confession" he'd been holding back from them since they first met:
"I'm gay."
The team broke into spontaneous applause. It took Whitney off-guard:
"Being where I am in eastern Washington, it's not the response I expected. I'm in Walla Walla, there's not a lot of open-mindedness on the surface."
But there is now, it seems, so Welcome Out Chandler, and please accept on our behalf, a copy of The Gay Agenda and, yes, the Obligatory Coming Out Toaster Oven.

And congratulations on the boyfriend. You make an adorable couple.

Welcome out.
Ari-Pekka Liukkonen Comes Out

2 comments:

the dogs' mother said...

SE Washington is very proud. :-)

Ron said...

Bob,
It's always heartening to read of more coming out stories like this, especially athletes in their prime.
Thanks for posting this.
Ron