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Professional Male Poker Player Comes Out

Professional Male Poker Player Comes Out

 

Professional poker player Jason Somerville, winner of the 2011 No-Limit, Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker, chose Valentine’s Day on Tuesday to officially come out.

Saying that the shut down of online poker forced him to focus on the “real-life things” that he’d been able to sideline for so long, Somerville wrote in a long and detailed piece on his own blog how he had for a long time been aware of his sexuality and how he is now happy to be open about who he is in his professional life.

Via Somerville’s blog (h/t to Towleroad):

I’ve struggled with how to discuss this, with how to balance my desire for privacy with the fact that I do want to be myself publicly — and the fact that I think it’s overdue for a guy to be open about it in poker. I’m no Daniel Negreanu, the royalty of real talk, but I do pride myself on saying what I think and simply being who I am; but I suppose you could say in the past being “truly myself” has come with a bit of an asterisk. Privately, amongst friends, I can say I’ve been doing that for some amount of time — but publicly, and in poker, that hasn’t completely been the case. I haven’t exactly always been where I am now, though, and haven’t really been ready to share my story publicly. Privacy reasons excepted, that won’t be the case any more.

[...]

I had put it off for a long time. I always knew I wasn’t straight, but I never spoke a word of it for twenty two years, and nobody really ever knew otherwise. I dated women exclusively through my teens and early 20s, doing my best to convince myself that it wasn’t something I had to pursue, that maybe I’d grow out of it, that I’d be happier with women anyway, that I just should focus on other things. After a lot of struggling and a lot of anxiety, I eventually came out to one of my close friends when I was 22. That same year, the second and third people I came out to were my parents (probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done), from which I basically received the not-exactly-what-I-needed reaction of “keep it to yourself, don’t tell anyone.” I told very few people from then until I was 24 (by the way, my parents are way better now).

[...]

As 2011 continued on, and my mindset became more focused on being happy, I pushed myself to make the changes I wanted. I started being more and more open, telling more and more people, and eventually started dating. I became more empowered by the growing personal freedoms I felt as I increasingly was just myself by default, less and less often censoring my thoughts, desires, and feelings. The small personal ‘victories’ piled up, I gained a lot of forward momentum, and the positive changes started to snowball…and here we are now, writing this post. I’m totally open in my personal life, in an amazing relationship that means a great deal to me, and bottom line, I’m honestly happier now than I’ve ever been.

Read the full, inspiring post over at Somerville’s blog.

The poker community’s reception to this news has been mostly very positive, with people reportedly reaching out through Somerville’s blog and social media to lend him their support.

Indeed Somerville, in the post above, mentions fellow player Daniel Negreanu. Negreanu has now posted a video blog supporting Somerville, saying he is “proud” of Somerville and that he thinks Somerville is a good representative for the gay community.

Related Reading:
Football Club Dismisses Player Over Anti-Gay Tweet
Gay-Positive Sports PSA (VIDEO)
NBA Adds Sexual Orientation Protections


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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Viri G.

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40 comments

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3:45PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

So, he was a King ,now he's a Queen ..that's the hand ,life dealt him ..!!

3:45PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

So, he was a King ,now he's a Queen ..that's the hand ,life dealt him ..!!

11:05AM PST on Feb 25, 2012

He did the right thing but why does it even matter? Sexualty has nothiung to do with poker.

5:08AM PST on Feb 24, 2012

"When high-profile personalities reveal themselves to be gay it helps youth be more comfortable with themselves."......Lydia, depends on the celeb and what their public perception is. Many rock stars have said they were gay and nobody was impressed one way or the other because of the person, themself. There's also a lot of difference between somebody like Ellen DeGeneres and a professional card player (gambler). Is that profession something anyone would admire and aspire their kid to become? How about if Charles Manson "came out"? He's a celeb, isn't he?

11:33PM PST on Feb 23, 2012

While I've never been a big follower of professional poker, hey, Jason sounds like a cool guy. Thanks for coming out. Go Jason.

8:45AM PST on Feb 23, 2012

When high-profile personalities reveal themselves to be gay it helps youth be more comfortable with themselves. Young people lack the self-confidence that comes from living many years and dealing with bias. Almost all people desire a role model early in their life. Plumbers and roofers are great too, but their fame is usually confined to a small, local area. When someone of notariety "comes out" it reassures young people that this is not something to be ashamed of. It gives them confidence that public opinion is not something to fear.

1:07AM PST on Feb 23, 2012

Good for you!

9:40AM PST on Feb 21, 2012

Thanks Steve for introducing him to us.

Diane L., I'm guessing thebig deal is to remind people that gay people are everywhereand do all sorts of jobs for a living and are not exclusively hair stylists or fashionistas as commonly helod moronic stereotypes would dictate. Maybe it's also to highlight that gay people (particularly gay men) are in professions that are commonly viewed as straight alpha male professions. If you're aware of thatthen good for you, but changing the minds and perceptions of others takes more time effort and requires a diferent approach that includes reminding others that aren't as enlightened that gay people are just like everyone else: human beings and deserved to be treated as such.

8:43AM PST on Feb 21, 2012

ty

6:09AM PST on Feb 20, 2012

WHO REALLY CARES!

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