Joey Bonanno always dreamed of competing in collegiate gymnastics – and after his first visit to Ohio State University, where he saw an openly gay athlete on a gymnastics team for the first time, he knew he could achieve his dreams and blaze a trail for LGBTQ athletes who followed him. In 2017 Joey was a part of the floor and vault lineup for the NCAA championship, and now he is an NCAA All-American committed to cultivating a strong and supportive environment at school. Now, he says it’s time for more NCAA schools – and the state of Ohio – to embrace LGBTQ-inclusive policies and to stand up against discrimination.
“We need NCAA schools to adopt LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices,” he said. “Having these policies sends a clear signal to LGBTQ athletes that they are welcomed and accepted. Seeing individuals similar to me pursuing the most elite level of their sport is what allowed me to find my own identity and accept myself.”