Connecticut College recently honored three members of the community with the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Awards, conferred each year on those who exemplify and uphold the legacy of Dr. King's work.
As the credits began to roll, Connecticut College´s Silfen Auditorium filled with the sounds of clapping and chanting for Brenner Green ´12, who had just made his film debut in the premiere of "Out for the Long Run," a Tragoidia Moving Pictures documentary about openly gay athletes. After the standing ovation, Green, a member of the men´s track and field and cross country teams, talked about what it means to be a gay athlete, the topic explored in the film. "During my freshman year in high school, I was confident that I was gay," Green said. "I wrote ´I´m gay´ on a piece of paper and gave it to my parents." He was officially out. In high school, most of his teammates struggled with his sexuality, Green says, but he has found his teammates at Connecticut College to be open, supportive and accepting. "It is not like in high school," Green said. "My current teammates always include me." Green´s cross country coach, Jim Butler, is also supportive and does not treat him differently. "Treat a gay athlete just as you would treat a heterosexual athlete, because it really does not matter," Butler says in the film. Gay athletes are starting to gain acceptance with open-minded coaches and are noticing some improvements on the field and in the locker room, but they still face discrimination, "Out for the Long Run" director and producer Scott Bloom said. Bloom and Green both anticipate the film will help lessen the prejudice associated with gay athletes. Green also hopes that sharing his story will encourage other individuals to come out. "At first, I was nervous that I would be speaking for the gay and lesbian community, but realized there were all of these other stories represented in the film," Green said. "I want to be remembered for being open." "Out for the Long Run" also features two Olympic gold medalists, two high school athletes and one other college athlete. "All four of the (student) athletes in this film are heroes," Bloom said. With the feedback from the Connecticut College premiere, Bloom plans to put the final touches on the documentary and submit it to film festivals. Watch a trailer for the film.
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