Retired Major League Baseball pitcher T.J. House took to Facebook this week to announce his engagement to his partner, Ryan Neitzel. In addition, this is the first time the former MLB player mentioned his sexuality.
“I’ve struggled my entire life with being comfortable in my own skin. I have purposefully distanced myself from people for the sake of trying to protect myself. It’s disheartening how one simple thing can change an individual’s opinion of you in a matter of seconds,” the pitcher wrote in a statement. “It has taken me years to wake up every morning and tell myself that you are loved for you, the one that’s deep down inside that you’ve never truly let out.”
He firmly stated, “Shame has kept me quiet all these years, but Love has finally set me free.”
As House continued, he reflected on his career in the MLB and how that affected his perception of self. Despite a place in the spotlight, he longed for happiness within himself. “Deep down I wanted something more, I wanted to be loved not for what I did, but who I was,” he explained.
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In recent months, the U.S. Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized the legalization of same-sex marriage in all states, has been threatened. However, President Joe Biden signed into law the Respect for Marriage Act, which protects same-sex couples’ ability to marry.
T.J. House discusses the importance of the Respect for Marriage Act
Within his statement, House recognized the importance of this act. He shared the sentiments, “Today’s passage of the Respect for Marriage Act protects us to have the same rights and opportunities that each of you have. It protects the same benefits. It makes us equal to you.”
And, from there, he proceeded to mention his engagement to his longtime partner, Ryan, noting that they are able to wed because of the Respect for Marriage Act.
“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,” House announced. “I have a wonderful fiancé, who 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.”
House is only one of three players in the MLB to ever come out as gay. After keeping his sexuality a secret for years, he is excited to live his life authentically. “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,” the athlete concluded.
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