Kyle Martino – USSF Candidates on LGBT Issues
We hope that issues of inclusion and diversity are at the forefront of the conversation in the months leading up to the US Soccer Federation elections early next year. We’ve reached out to the candidates with one question about their presidency. Kyle Martino was the first to respond.
Over the past few years, some great strides have been made in US Soccer’s support of the LGBT community. More players on our women’s team have been able to play as out, open individuals and the US Soccer Federation has made significant partnerships with organizations such as the You Can Play Project. However, we have yet to see an out gay man play for a men’s national team at any level, and issues of LGBT exclusion, homophobia, and transphobia persist in corners of American soccer. What will your US Soccer Federation presidency do to advance LGBT acceptance and inclusion in all levels of American soccer?
This is a very important topic for me which is why equality is front and center in my platform. When I played in Columbus, a teammate and friend of mine named David Testo came out to me. He felt he couldn’t tell the rest of the team and trusted me with his secret. It was heartbreaking to watch an amazing person and talented player struggle so much. It affected his play, but most importantly his happiness. I was glad I could be there for him but saddened I couldn’t do more.
Now I can. I’ve reached out to Robbie Rogers whom I have become friends with over the years and we will connect next week so I can hear ways he thinks a locker room can become a safe place for the LGBTQ athletes. We must use our sport as a beacon for youth looking for idols and answers. Our sport is one of the most colorful ones on the planet and it provides hope and happiness for all people. It’s time that includes the LGBTQ community. This sport is everyone’s, and once in office I will work with athletes from the LGBTQ community to help staff a department dedicated to educating, empowering and supporting athletes from all walks of life.
We hope we can bring you the thoughts and plans of more candidates in the months before February’s elections. We also plan on bringing you voices from the LGBT community on the election, including an endorsement for the presidency.
Kyle Martino’s Twitter
Kyle Martino’s campaign website