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Wade Davis is a former player for the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins. He also traveled to Europe to play for NFL Europe before retiring seven years ago. He played for the Gay Football League, but still had not spoken publically about being gay until earlier this year when he did an article with OutSports and began serving as a spokesperson for President ObamaÕs re-election campaign. He currently works with LGBT youth in New York City, and heÕs coming to Michigan on Oct. 27 to speak at Equality Michigan’s State Equality Celebration. The annual event will be held on at the Detroit Club in downtown Detroit. Find out more at http://www.equalitymi.org.
1 You did a very revealing interview with OutSports earlier this year. Have you gotten any surprising reactions or consequences of having done the article?
When I initially agreed to do the interview, I didnÕt expect the reaction and feedback to be so massive. Many of my friends and ex-teammates were actually mad at me. Not because I announced my sexuality, as a gay man, but I didnÕt give them the opportunity to show me theyÕd still love.
2 You said in your interview you came out gradually. Why do you think that was? What challenges did you have to overcome?
ÒComing outÓ or Òinviting people inÓ to my life was something I had no context for — and I was still learning how to embrace and love myself (all of me) so I needed to go slow and sort of feel my way through everything. And the idea that I had to announce my sexuality to people in order to be ÒvisibleÓ was highly problematic for me and I didnÕt enjoy the ÒconversationsÓ around it. Naming and claiming the sexuality of my heterosexual friends had never been required so I hated the perceived ÒrequirementÓ that I had.
3 What did you enjoy about playing in the Gay Football League?
The gay football league provided me a home, a community and a family who loved me regardless and accepted me without reservations. And that was something I so desired at the time and the league and everyone in it, in so many ways made me the person I am today.
4 Are you still keeping active and athletic? What types of sports and activities do you enjoy?
Well I play flag and rough touch football but my knees, ankles, back and everything else is so bad and always hurt that I donÕt know if IÕd call myself ÒactiveÓ. I play because I enjoy the camaraderie and teaching others how to really understand the game. But outside of football — IÕm really enjoying writing and reading right now. Also I bowl occasionally, love travelling and eating.
5 What have you been doing for President Obama, and why are you doing it?
Currently IÕm an LGBT Surrogate for the President, which is quite possibly the highest honor IÕve ever received. I get to travel around the country speaking on his behalf, which is more than a dream come true because itÕs helping to continue to promote Òthe promiseÓ of President Obama. Also I have written for the PresidentsÕ Blog. I believe in our President and I see firsthand the impact our President has and is having on not only our nation but around the world. I work with youth who are now so passionate about politics and are watching and wanting to discuss his policies and everything he does. The fire that exists in their eyes and the renewed faith in their futures is partly because of him and IÕm blessed to be a part of that.
6 What has your experience been like working with LGBTQ youth daily?
Working LGBTQ youth has been a dream. Every day I wake up excited about going to work, excited about making a difference in the lives of these youth but moreover excited about these youth making an impact on my life. They have taught me far more than I have taught them. The passion, the fight, the undying love they exhibit towards themselves and others is why I have the best job in the world. These heroes and sheroes need their stories told, need to have a voice and IÕm going to make sure they are never silenced.
7 YouÕve been to Detroit for Motor City Pride, and youÕll be back for the Equality Michigan dinner. Are you from the area, or do you have any special ties here?
I donÕt have any family ties but the first time I visited the Motor City to speak for the President and I interacted with the people, I felt an immediate connection. So IÕm happy to return and continue to become a member of the Equality Michigan family.
8 Why is it important to support Equality Michigan?
Equality Michigan is an organization that is doing the work we all should be doing and modeling for us all how to ensure safety for all regardless of sexual orientation, expression and identity. Supporting Equality Michigan is about us all, itÕs about making this world safe and helping to create agency for LGBT communities.