TJ House, a former professional baseball player, has come out as gay and announced his engagement at the same time.
House, who’s played for the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays, posted an emotional statement on his Facebook page on Thursday (8 December) citing the passing of the Respect for Marriage Act as inspiration.
In his statement accompanying some adorable images of him and his fiancé, Ryan Neitzel, TJ, 33, says, “I’ve struggled my entire life with being comfortable in my own skin.” He also says, “I’ve been loved my whole life for what I did as a career, and it carried me for the longest time.”
But he describes this as a “bandage that covers a wound that needs fresh air to heal. You have to rip it off at some point if you truly want to get better.”
TJ adds, “Shame has kept me quiet all these years, but Love has finally set me free.”
He goes on to say that despite everything his fame and success brought him, “I would go home every night wishing I could change.” He says, “Deep down I wanted something more, I wanted to be loved not for what I did, but who I was.”
Recognising that he has held people back from truly knowing him he reveals, “I’ve sat in many rooms, listened to conversations around me, sat in pews at church, and read posts that have led me to act otherwise.”
TJ continues, “It’s hard listening to people talk about you without them knowing that the words they are saying are directed at you.”
Referencing the Respect for Marriage Act (“It makes us equal to you.”) he also points out: “It allows Ryan Neitzel and I to come together and create something beautiful. It gives me the confidence to get engaged to the person I love (he said Yes!), to marry them.”
Celebrating his fiancé TJ says Ryan “challenges me daily to become a better person. To live life authentically. One who I never deserved but blessed to have. Love you see, it’s for everyone.”
Finally he writes, “I’m finally healing, and days like today are what helps me continue to grow into the person I’ve been all along, one I’ve locked up for 20 plus years.” He closes, Today I am Loved.”
As reported by Outsports, TJ is the third former MLB player to come out publicly following Glenn Burke and Billy Bean, and the first to do so in 23 years. Bean tells Outsports: “This is a great day for the league and baseball”.