Gay College Athlete Comes Out, Explains The Power In His Truth In New Doc, “Game Face”

Terrence-Clemens

A gay college basketball player in Oklahoma is coming out in a big way, explaining how his sexuality made him realize his passion for basketball in Game Face, a new documentary on the film festival circuit this year.

Game Face tells the story of that basketball player, Terrence Clemens, alongside that of Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender professional MMA fighter. Their journeys, though very different from each other, represent a huge number of professional and amateur athletes dealing with homophobia in sports.

Related: Christian College Bans Homosexuality After Two Student Athletes Come Out

Clemens grew up in poverty in South Central Los Angeles and once did time in a federal prison for white collar crimes, but he says the experience of coming out to his family and peers has been the most emotionally taxing by far.

“A lot of my family members, they would rather you kill somebody than be gay. They’d rather you be a drug dealer than be gay. They’d rather you were strung out on crack on somebody’s corner than be gay,” he said.

Growing up in a neighborhood where music, sports or drugs provided the only avenues for getting out, he explains that basketball was originally the sport that he hoped could help him rise above — he played it as a means to survive.

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“When I was younger I thought I wanted to play basketball because I wanted to be the best basketball player in the world. But the real reason I played basketball was because I was living in poverty. And those kids grow up believing that playing sports or selling drugs or making music are the ways out. I wanted to pursue that to provide for my family,” he said.

“Now, after finding out my family doesn’t back me, that drive is gone. I want to do things that make me happy. Basketball makes me happy because I’ve been playing it for so long and because I’m great at it.”

Related: 5 Trailblazing LGBT Athletes Who Changed The Game

Invoking the inspiration he drew from Jason Collins’ coming out as the first openly gay basketball player in a major American sport, he says “For a while [I thought], ’I can deal with people not knowing,’ but now it eats at me to not be truthful to people.”

Check out Clemens’ full story at Out Sports, and see him below in the first trailer for Game Face:

Matthew Tharrett is a writer, filmmaker, and above all else, a Britney fan. He once shared a milkshake with Selena Gomez.
@mattharrett