Longtime Boston Herald sports columnist Steve Buckley announced that he is gay in today’s Herald. He had planned to make the announcement seven years ago, but his mother, who wanted him to come out, suddenly passed away, and he kept putting it off. In the column, “Welcome to my coming-out party,” Buckley wrote:
Now I’m not going to suggest that these past seven years have been filled with sadness and dread, for the reality is that I’m a pretty happy guy—great family, great friends and a job I truly enjoy, even if, OK, I probably talk too much about the ’67 Red Sox, the Godfather movies (I and II, but never III) and postseason pitching rotations.
But I’ve put this off long enough. I haven’t been fair to my family, my friends or my co-workers. And I certainly haven’t been fair to myself: For too many years I’ve been on the sidelines of Boston’s gay community but not in the game—figuratively and literally, as I feel I would have had a pretty good career in the (gay) Beantown Softball League.
Over the past couple of months I have discussed the coming-out process with my family and a few friends, and have had sit-downs with Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca and sports editor Hank Hryniewicz, as well as with WEEI’s Glenn Ordway. They’ve been great, as have my friends and family.
But during this same period, I have read sobering stories about people who came undone, killing themselves after being outed. These tragic events helped guide me to the belief that if more people are able to be honest about who they are, ultimately fewer people will feel such devastating pressure.
It’s my hope that from now on I’ll be more involved. I’m not really sure what I mean by being “involved,” but this is a start: I’m gay.
The sports world is not the most gay-friendly business. In 2007 LA Times sports columnist Mike Penner announced he that he was a transsexual, changing his name to “Christine Daniels.” After coming out, he struggled with his gender and identity, sadly taking his own life in 2009.
No matter the arena, it’s a courageous announcement by Steve Buckley. So far, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, as it should be. He deserves all the support he can get. And he’s definitely got ours.
If you’ve ever listened to Boston sports radio station WEEI, which isn’t known for its tolerant, open-minded on-air personalities, you may be wondering how they are handling this news. Here’s an excerpt from today’s “Dennis and Callahan” morning show. And here’s “Buck,” as he’s known to his sports radio cohorts, telling the story in his own words.
(In case you’re wondering, yes, that’s the same Beantown Softball League that GMPM editor Henry Belanger wrote about this summer.)