NCAA Wrestling Champ Mike Pucillo Comes Out: “I Want People To Know You Aren’t Alone”

NCAA Wrestling Champ Mike Pucillo Comes Out: “I Want People To Know You Aren’t Alone”

pucillo
While pro sportsmen who come out in the NFL and NBA draw the media spotlight, student athletes who share their story are changing the hearts and minds of the next generation.

Mike Pucillo, a former Ohio State wrestler, is one such trailblazer: The three-time All-American and 2008 NCAA Division I champion came out on Friday in an interview with The Open Mat.

“I wish I was able to be myself seven years ago while still competing in college, but it isn’t until now that I am comfortable with myself to tell my story,” said Pucillo, 26.

Related: Derrick Gordon Becomes First Gay Player In NCAA Division I Basketball

College sports are a bastion of old-school macho attitudes. Wrestling in particular, can spark anxiety in young gay men.

“It’s two dudes rolling around on a mat—people who don’t know wrestling call [singlets] ‘leotards,’” says Pucillo. “It’s a joke, but it creates a built-in mechanism to say: ‘I’m not gay. I’m too manly to be gay. I’m too tough to be gay.’”

mike pucillo

Pucilli admits there was a part of him that felt, “people outside wrestling call it a ‘gay sport’ and look at me, I’m the gay guy. They were right.”

That mentality forced him deeper into the closet while in school. “I was mentally exhausted from [it],” he admits. “I hate to say [I wasn’t] happy, because I was happy, but there was just an aspect of my life that was missing.”

Related: Derek Schell Becomes First Openly Gay Player In NCAA Basketball

It also kept Pucillo from pursuing a career in coaching. He spent just one year as an assistant coach with the Buckeyes before leaving in 2011.

“I was more worried about if we were going to recruit a kid … and they know,” he said. “Are their parents going to want their son to be at a school where one of the coaches is gay?” He’s also heard coaches say, “If I ever had a gay kid on the team… it’s not like we could kick him off the team, but we would do whatever we could to basically [run them off].”

By coming out now, he says, “I want people to know that you aren’t alone. If I can just help one person get through, then I will be happy.”

Photos: Jim Davidson/The Ozone.net

Op-Ed: Where Is the Outrage for Gays Killed by ISIS?

OUT – Op-Ed: Where Is the Outrage for Gays Killed by ISIS?

Michael Lucas

The backlash against Dolce and Gabbana last week was immediate, brutal, and covered by news outlets from The New York Times to The Advocate to E! Online.

The gay fashion icons had made some decidedly unfashionable remarks about same sex marriage and gay parenting, including “The only family is the traditional one,” along with a reference to “synthetic” children.

The negative response from both the LGBT community and straight people was, I think, quite appropriate. But it only deepened my frustration over the relatively modest amount of news coverage and the surprising absence of protest over an issue of far greater importance to gays, lesbians, and all people of good will: the executions of men suspected of being gay by Islamic extremists in Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Muslim world.

In recent months ISIS has released photos and videos of its masked members dragging these men to the rooftops of tall buildings and pushing them off, to the apparent delight of crowds below. In several cases, the hapless victims reportedly survived the fall, only to be stoned to death by onlookers.

The murders, which have taken place in ISIS strongholds such as Mosul and Raqqa, are often preceded by a jihadi denouncing the Koran-prohibited “crime” of sodomy. And they’re accompanied by cries of the Islamic phrase “Allahu akbar,” “God is great.”

Killing gays by making them plunge off high buildings is just the newest method used by Muslim radicals; other, more traditional means of murder are also in full force. Photos published on social media this month show the beheadings of two men for alleged homosexuality in the Nineveh province of Iraq, after a man described by a local official as an “Islamic State religious judge” read an indictment. Others have reportedly been crucified, and some mercilessly mutilated.

I ask you to envision a similar, horrific scenario in a very different location. Imagine if priests were tossing gay men off the top of St. Peter’s Basilica into the square below, with jubilant crowds filling Vatican City yelling “Praise be to Jesus Christ” (or the equivalent in Latin or Italian).

It is considered brave to bash the pope or a cardinal, but when anyone does the same of Muslim clerics, that critic is called a racist, an Islamophobe, or prejudiced.

Wouldn’t the Vatican scenario I described above be the headline on every American newspaper, the lead story on every newscast, the top trending topic on Twitter? Would not every LGBT leader, every human rights activist, every liberal and right-thinking person in the U.S. denounce the atrocities, as well as the religion that gave rise to such hateful actions? Would the streets of American cities not fill with protest marches and angry demonstrations?

Yet radical Muslims somehow seem to get a pass. Intensive news coverage and progressive protests apparently get detained at the border of Islam. Why is there this atrocious double standard?

There was worldwide revulsion when ISIS burned to death the caged Jordanian pilot, and decapitated Western journalists. But where is the outrage when Muslims publicly murder Muslim men for being gay, or stone to death Muslim women for adultery or for having been raped?

It’s been called “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” this notion that Muslims can’t be held to the same standards of behavior as those of other faiths. Liberal voices often compare conservative Christians or Jews with radical Muslims. But have longtime anti-gay preacher Pat Robertson or Judaism’s Lubavitcher Rebbe ever advocated actual violence against gay “sinners”?

Of course not. Political correctness, however, forces us to tiptoe around the truth that Islamists today are slaughtering people for homosexuality, blasphemy, and adultery, not to mention for sketching pictures of Muhammad.

Some courageous voices in both the liberal and Muslim communities have spoken out against the recent barbarism.

The insightful books of Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, two personal heroes of mine, grace my bookshelves. Both women secularized so they cannot even be counted as Islamic voices and in fact they are no longer welcome in the Muslim community and have bodyguards when they make public appearances. Where are the celebrities, LGBT leaders, and progressive politicians who decry the slightest hint of homophobia, yet remain silent when gay men descend to their deaths at the hands of thugs who say they are acting in the name of Islam?

In speaking recently about Muslim terrorism, President Obama, who cannot even bring himself to utter the phrase “Islamic extremism,” said, “Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

The president entirely misses the point. Christianity and Judaism have continued to evolve over the centuries. In the last few days alone, the Presbyterian Church became the largest Protestant group to formally recognize gay marriage. And a Reform rabbi became the first openly lesbian president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Much of Islam, however, is like a mountain that has never moved during the thousand four hundred of years of its existence.

Seventy years ago, the average American citizen might have been able to say, despite sporadic news reports, that he or she was not aware of the evil that was taking place inside Nazi concentration camps. Today, none of us can make that claim about the evil that is radical Islam. Smartphones in the very hands of the killers show us their savagery, and we excuse or ignore it at our own peril.

 

MICHAEL LUCAS is the creator of Lucas Entertainment, one of the largest studios producing all-male erotica. He lives in New York City. This essay is the opinion of the writer, and does not reflect the views or opinions of Out.

Costa Rica seeks law to allow same-sex civil unions

Costa Rica seeks law to allow same-sex civil unions

Reuters

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) – Costa Rica will this week put forward a plan to allow same-sex civil unions based on previous initiatives to change the law in the Central American nation, a government official said on Wednesday.

Costa Rica follows Chile, which in January became the most recent Latin American country to recognize same-sex marriage or unions after Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and some parts of Mexico.

“This week we will launch (draft legislation), honoring the commitment our government made in this area and … we will open a space for consulting with various organizations,” said Ana Gabriel Zuniga, deputy minister of the presidency.

The government hopes Costa Rica’s legislature will discuss before April 30 two existing draft bills with the purpose of combining them to legalize same-sex civil unions.

Same-sex marriage, however, is not on the agenda, Zuniga said following a meeting with activists.

Gay rights activist groups praised the plan, which follows other recent moves to fight discrimination in the country such as extending some social security benefits to same-sex couples.

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis last year hoisted the rainbow gay pride flag at the presidential palace to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

(Reporting by Enrique Pretel; Editing by Bernard Orr)

EXCLUSIVE! Lisa Vanderpump Marries Gay Couple – See The Vander-perfect Pics!

EXCLUSIVE! Lisa Vanderpump Marries Gay Couple – See The Vander-perfect Pics!

Restaurateur, reality TV star, and… ordained minister?! Yup, Lisa Vanderpump officiated her first gay wedding, and only perezhilton.com has the Vander-perfect pics and wedding day details. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star wed Magno and Dominic Salva (above far left to right) on November 8 in the garden of her newest restaurant PUMP.

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