In December of 2015, Dalton Maldonado was outed as gay at his high school basketball game. What ensued in the hours and days following was a haunting reminder of the intolerance and hatred that many still feel toward gay people. Dalton’s team bus was stalked as players from the other team taunted and threatened him. His hotel, used for the tournament, was even placed on lockdown to ensure his safety. But it was the overwhelming acceptance and love Dalton received from his teammates that encouraged him and made him want to share his story publicly.
“To this day I haven’t lost a friend over coming out,” Dalton said. “I’ve actually become closer to them. In fact, the one person in my school and on my team I was scared to tell sung the song ‘Same Love’ to me as he told me he would always be here for me and was proud of me. It was then that I realized how truly blessed I was. It was so much easier playing my senior year because I didn’t have to worry about my parents or teammates finding out because I had already told them. I feel like this can help other young athletes, help them come out. My freshman year I didn’t think I would ever come out. Now here I am telling the world.”