Pride Athlete Feature - Robert Kim
Our last Pride athlete feature is Auxiliary’s very own Robert Kim. Seasoned member, master of email communications and co-owner of Auxiliary CrossFit. Without further ado in his own words:
Pride has taken on different meanings at different periods in my life. Some good, some bad, some uncertain. The important thing about pride, I think, is about visibility.
I knew I was gay as soon as I could put a word that could describe what I felt. I grew up with the feeling that I was different. How typically precocious to think that, right? But, it’s true. Many people who identify as LGBTQ describe it that way – they “felt different”. It was after watching a television drama called Doing Time on Maple Drive in 1992 that I could qualify what that difference was. The movies starred my childhood crush William McNamara, my favourite Full House actor Lori Loughlin, and the ingenious Jim Carrey. Basically, Lori almost marries her fiancé (William) who is actually closeted and had a same-sex high-school lover. When Lori discovers this, things get messy and William’s life unravels. At the end of the movie, my 8-year old self sat frozen, petrified. I just discovered right then and there that I was a “homosexual.”
The challenges I faced were mine and mine alone. It was uncomfortable and sometimes isolating. You suffer in silence when you can’t speak of these things with your friends or family. The shame eats you alive. Everyone endures some level of familial expectations and when you can’t meet them, it sucks. In my experience, coming out was the single more terrifying thing. Not in the horror movie sense. Rather, the terror was in the risk of potentially losing your family. Many people get rejected when they come out. Some people still do. I pretty much carried this fear growing up. When I did come out almost 15 years ago, I didn’t end up losing my family. They embraced me when they were ready, on their own time, and in their own way.
“Many people get rejected when they come out. Some people still do. I pretty much carried this fear growing up. When I did come out almost 15 years ago, I didn’t end up losing my family.” - Robert Kim
So why do these Pride series? I decided to run the Pride Athlete Series on our social media because I wanted Pride to reflect more than just an Auxiliary Rainbow logo. I think Pride deserves context and what better way than to share peoples’ stories. I wanted the wider community to know that Pride was built on decades of struggles of those who didn’t have the legal and civil protections and who used their voices and action to create change.
This year, we had seven of your fellow Auxiliary athletes bravely share their stories with you. I want to thank them all for taking the opportunity to do so. Thank you.
And while many of us can take comfort with the fact that we are lucky to find people, resources, and legal protections to support us, there are many at home and abroad who don’t share the same reality. Auxiliary CrossFit decided that we would match all proceeds from our Pride shirt sales to go to Rainbow Railroad – an organization that saves people who live in other countries from criminal persecution and even death for being LGBTQ. Thank you to everyone who supported this cause. We were able to raise over $700 at this year’s Aux Pride 5K Run and BBQ.
Thank you to everyone. Each and every one of you helps make our community something special. We are a group of people where sport brings us together, but more importantly, we are an incredible community of people that support one another.