A male student at Cardinal Stritch University has added his name to the list of game changers when it comes to gay male athlete visibility. The Milwaukee school’s volleyball player was comfortably out on campus and on his team, but he wasn’t out publicly; however, that changed last week during a class project.
Felipe Oliveira, a sophomore, is taking a “Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Studies” class, the first of its kind at the Catholic university, and was assigned a final project that required doing something to help the LGBTQ+ community. He and four of his fellow classmates and athletes, Indira Colón (track and field), Scott Fabian (volleyball) and Bernabe Montes (soccer) - who all identify as straight, decided to create a 22-minute podcast which involved him coming out publicly to show that LGBTQ+ athletes are accepted on the campus.
In the podcast, the four students talk about Oliveira’s story and the current culture of LGBTQ+ athletes including locker room showers and the acceptance of Felipe by his teammates. Although the Brazilian student has stated that he is lucky to be accepted by his teammates and has never experienced discrimination at his university based on his orientation, he (and his peers) wanted to make the podcast to show other students that it’s okay to be proud of who they are because he is aware that there are a lot of people who are struggling in silence.
While having the personal motivation of a strong masculine culture that hinders the ability to be out in his home country of Brazil - especially in sports, he wanted to make a difference in gay athletes’ lives because he and his peers noticed that the topic of homophobia in sports had never been addressed before at their university. He hopes that this project can help gay athletes speak up and be the change at their own universities.
Good job, Felipe!!
Check out the podcast here: