As the coronavirus pandemic rearranges lives and priorities, one college basketball coach has been inspired to come out as gay because he doesn’t want to “die with the lie.”
Matt Lynch has been a basketball coach for 10 years. Until two weeks ago, Lynch worked as a basketball coach at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, but he — like so many others — lost his job to the pandemic. The 29-year-old came out as gay in a vulnerable op-ed for OutSports.
“This is a scary time for everyone and the unknown is always difficult to deal with,” Lynch wrote. “But I have made a decision to use this time to become completely open and honest with myself and the people around me.”
“I’m gay,” he wrote.
Lynch then explained that he wasn’t sure he’d ever tell the truth about his sexuality. “I always thought I would ‘die with the lie,'” he recalled. Over the years, he focused heavily on his career as a basketball coach, throwing himself into his work to avoid confronting his sexuality.
“I didn’t think about being gay or that part of me as much,” he said. “I didn’t date, I didn’t talk about it, and it got to the point that I almost began to believe that I could shut that side of my life ‘off.'”
Eventually, it became clear that Lynch was sacrificing his mental health by staying so deeply in the closet. He found the courage to tell one person, then another, then another. Now, he’s telling the whole world.
His goal isn’t simply to come out of the closet, the coach says, but to eliminate the closet altogether — to be an inspiration for other LGBTQ+ coaches out there.
“I am probably a little crazy to decide to make this so public with everything else that is going on,” he wrote. “But I wanted to try and find a way use a negative time for something positive. I don’t know if I will be able to get another college basketball job as an openly gay coach, but I refuse to take any job where I am not my authentic self. I refuse to die with the lie.”