Soccer player Andrew Ford proves it is possible to be bisexual, religious and an athlete at a Christian university.
Each of these three is a defining trait for Andrew. Despite being hard at times, he wouldn’t want it any other way.
Ford is a proud Christian. He grew up in a ‘Christian home’ in Zanesville, Ohio.
When he was old enough to run after a ball, he followed in his brother’s footsteps and aimed to become a soccer defender.
Andrew felt so free while playing his favorite sport, but not as free to express himself and his sexuality off the field.
Ford kept his secret through high school
Andrew didn’t manage to come out publicly in high school as he had planned to.
After having been crowned homecoming king, Ford just fell silent.
‘I couldn’t get the words out. I felt I was going to let everyone down from my team to my family, so I said nothing,’ he recalled.
But good things were about to happen. He got into Malone University, a Division II Christian school in Canton, Ohio, where he could play college soccer.
How Christian is this university, one might ask.
The school’s motto is ‘Christ’s Kingdom First,’ said Andrew, recalling his experience for www.outsports.com.
There were no out athletes in college
Malone is fairly LGBTI-friendly. However, there were no out athletes there when Andrew enrolled.
This meant he had to break the mold and do things his own way.
Ford felt he couldn’t keep his secret any longer and told his roommate. And then the rest of his team.
‘It was as if they felt even more comfortable around me by being able to speak to me and open up more,’ he said.
‘My honesty, instead of making them reject me, made them embrace me more.’
Andrew encourages others to come out
He also became a model for other Christian athletes scared to come out.
‘I recommend to my LGBTI athletes that your life deserves to be lived,’ he told GSN.
‘You’re not the one who needs to change. The world needs to change its heart. Believe me when I say there are so many closeted athletes. So you’re not alone.’
He would recommend to just be as honest as one can be and trust people.
‘Be yourself both on and off the field, and if people have something against that, then they can go sit on the bench. Because we will be cheering you on,’ he said.
Facing discrimination off the field
The 20-year-old has faced discrimination for being who he really is. Surprisingly, that has never happened while competing.
‘I have not yet experienced discrimination for my sexual orientation on the field. Off the field, I have been attacked, mostly for standing up for those being attacked,’ he revealed.
‘I won’t stand in the limelight while the LGBTI family are being abused both physically and verbally. Just because you’re not being attacked, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening to others. So I will be the fight.’
Reconciling faith and bisexuality was challenging
Being an athlete and an advocate for the LGBTI community means that Ford has little time to find ‘the one’.
‘I am not dating someone at the moment,’ he revealed.
‘I’m waiting on God’s timing, not mine.’
Reconciling his faith and his sexuality was challenging for Ford.
‘I struggled with this for a long time,’ he said.
‘But what I found true was that if your religion preaches hatred or discrimination or the non-acceptance of someone because of who they love or anything of that nature, then you’re doing the whole Christian thing wrong.’
Ford explained it was heartbreaking to experience discrimination from within his religious community.
‘I have already been attacked for speaking up for LGBTI Christian athletes by many churches,’ he also said.
‘And it hurts my heart to know we are supposed to be known as the religion of love and have been showing hatred toward others it makes me sick. But I will continue to show them what love is.’
‘I will take these hits and shots so these LGBTI kids growing up with pain in their heart won’t have to one day.’
Author: Stefania Sarrubba
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