Steve Buckley, Boston Herald sports columnist announces he's gay in column

Jan 6, 2011

Longtime sportswriter Steve Buckley is having a coming-out party. And the whole world's invited.

The 54-year-old announced that he's gay in an especially candid column today in the Boston Herald. Shortly after it was posted, it had more than 300 comments.

In the piece, "Welcome to my coming-out party," Buckley recounts how his mother suggested seven years ago that he come out in "that story you've been talking about."

The columnist said he made "the biggest mistake of my life" because he didn't write the piece immediately.

"With a vacation lined up for the first week of December, I told her I'd get to it when I returned to Boston -- just before Christmas," he said, not knowing she would die of a heart attack the day after he came back from vacation.

Buckley never got around to writing it — until now.

"I haven't been fair to my family, my friends or my co-workers. And I certainly haven't been fair to myself: For too many years, I've been on the sidelines of Boston's gay community but not in the game -- figuratively and literally," he wrote.

Gerry Callahan, a fellow sports columnist for the Herald and radio talk show host of the "Dennis and Callahan" show on WEEI, applauded Buckley but said coming out won't be easy.

"He's on the frontlines down at Foxborough," he said. "He's in the locker room, he's dealing with fans. He's gonna be out there in the open and it's not gonna be easy for him. And he knows it. He knows it and I'm sure that's why he was reluctant all those years."

Co-host John Dennis argued it wouldn't be an issue.

Buckley isn't the first sports writer to come out. In 2007, the Los Angeles Times' Mike Penner made international headlines when he announced he was transsexual in a column and began working under the byline "Christine Daniels." He committed suicide in 2009.

Of course, not all stories end so tragically. And Buckley acknowledges he has "read sobering stories about people who came undone, killing themselves after being outed."

But he says it's those stories that helped him with his decision.

"These tragic events helped guide me to the belief that if more people are able to be honest about who they are, ultimately fewer people will feel such devastating pressure," said Buckley. "It's my hope that from now on I'll be more involved. I'm not really sure what I mean by being ‘involved,' but this is a start: I'm gay."



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