• Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • LinkedIn
  • Black Facebook Icon

As a former division-one track athlete, a two-time member of the US National Quidditch team, and a creative director on the women's pro tennis tour, it's easy to show people that sports have a special place in my life. Why else would someone voluntarily run marathons, you know? But, sometimes when I think about it, I wonder how I was able to love something that never wanted me there in the first place.

Growing up in a sports-focused family, most of my childhood memories are tied to athletics in some way (for better or for worse). While my success on the field offered a certain degree of validation, there was always a distance between me and my teammates that took years for me to fully understand. 

I, like many others, endured my fair share of teasing. Homophobic slurs were the weapon of choice amongst my peers, and while I didn't know it at the time, the environment I was in pushed me deeper and deeper into the closet. I didn't know I was gay, but it was clear to me that gay men couldn't exist in high-level sports. They were "lesser" in some way, and athletics was not their arena.

 

Or so I was taught to believe.

When I finally began to understand who I was and found the strength to come out, I felt like I had to work twice as hard to earn respect from others. Whether or not that was actually true, the emotional impact of my past experiences made me feel inferior. I had to run faster. Tackle harder. Score more. I had to make up for who I was and, even if I was the best athlete on the field, I needed to prove I was as good as anyone else – especially to myself.

Through years of support, growth, and experience, I was able to embrace and love the man that I am. The journey was dark and difficult at times, but I would not change a thing about where I've been. I've learned empathy, I've learned self-worth, and most importantly, I've learned how valuable it is for people to speak up and be visible. The world needs champions of LGBTQ+ equality, and even the smallest acts of courage can change someone's life.

 

Now, I feel my purpose is to give back – to be an example for those who still feel lost, alone, and who are looking for someone like themselves. I have a voice, and I will spend my life using it for something good. 

If I can help at least one young man or woman realize that they have the strength and support to be themselves both on and off the field, then I will know I have done something good with my life.

Since 2016, I have been a pro ambassador for Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization whose mission is "to end the rampant homophobia and transphobia in sport and to activate the athletic community to exercise their leadership to champion LGBTQ equality."

I have represented brands for Pride campaigns, spearheaded LGTBQ-focused marketing campaigns, and spoken on a variety of panels. But, I am still looking for more ways to get involved in the community, share my story, and support those who need it most. 

E:    KedzieT@gmail.com

M:   401-479-9686

IG:  @KedzieT


Philadelphia, PA 19102

© 2020 by Kedzie C. Teller

kediet-logo_monogram-grey.png