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Taking the lead from Jason Collins and Robbie Rogers, Jallen Messersmith appears to have become the first active college basketball player to come out as gay. The Benedictine College Ravens forward has revealed how he overcame bullying so intense he had to be home-schooled but is now comfortable enough with his sexual orientation that he introduces male dates to his adoring teammates.
The 6-8, 215-pound athlete reached out to OutSports prior to NBA star Collins coming out publicly in a Sports Illustrated profile.
Although Messersmith has received support from his Mormon family, he left the church in which he was raised, recalling church leaders constantly disparaging gay people during his years in it.
“Going to church, all I heard was ‘this is bad, this is bad, this is bad,’” Messersmith said. “When I heard stuff like that, all I did was try to get away from it.”
What Messersmith had trouble escaping was the relentless bullying he was subjected to as a pre-teen.
“Growing up, I was always picked on,” he revealed. “I seldom had a guy friend growing up. I was lonely and didn’t have any super-close friends. Some days I would go to my room and just cry about it. It was something I