Ahead of Real Salt Lake's Pride night on June 25 against Columbus Crew, several RSL players gave their thoughts about why Pride is important and what it means to them.
You became the first active male athlete to walk in the Boston Pride Parade, could you tell us why that was important to you?
"I was really happy to do it. I just feel like it's essential for everyone to feel included and for everyone to focus on togetherness I grew up in the Boston area and I felt like it was important to get back to the community, especially walking the pride to try to make everyone feel inclusive and be an ally. It was a great time."
Why do you feel like it's important for everyone to be inclusive, especially at a soccer club?
"I think for anyone, the more comfortable you are in your own skin, the more comfortable you are around others. The happier you are, the more confident you are in in all activities, whether it be sport, whether it be life. So I just think that it's very important, and you never know what other people are going through. So it's important to be nice and to make them feel comfortable in their own skin and to make them feel like they are welcome."
Why do you think Pride is important?
"I think like any human should have the right to feel the way they feel and be the way they are. If you're comfortable with who you are I think we should accept that. Everything is not black and white, it's more about accepting what other people think. I'm really interested in learning about stuff, I have no problem talking about different subjects and I feel like everybody should have their own opinion, but if you feel comfortable a certain way, that shouldn't be a problem for anybody else."
What is it like to be a part of a club where everybody, whether you are LGBTQ or straight, can feel like they're welcome in this locker room?
"We all share the same interest basically. You have like so many ethnicities nationalities, different backgrounds but at the end of the day, if you go into a locker room, it's one family. You all work for each other. We need to accept each other to understand each other on the pitch. As soon as we walk out that tunnel, it's like we all speak the same language, like we all belong to the same team, the same club.
We all are here just here to play soccer basically and who am I to not accept somebody else who's doing the exact same thing as I do? And it's not just in soccer but for everything else. For every other topic that we have in our community and our society, just because, I feel different or I have different answers doesn't mean that I'm a better person or worse person. I'm still the same person as before. I think it's time to accept that, time to change that mindset on it. It's time to just accept what people want to be, accept who people are and let them feel as comfortable as they can."