Bradley Kim, a football player at the Air Force Academy, has become the first student athlete at a U.S. military academy to come out as gay.
Kim, a defensive back with the Air Force Falcons, had been coming out to family and friends over the past year, but shared his story publicly Friday via an Instagram post (now unavailable, however) and an interview with Outsports.
“The biggest reason I want to share this is to be able to reach people who are in similar situations struggling with the same things I have struggled with,” he told Outsports. “I want to be that example for kids that you can be gay, you can pursue your dreams, and you can have an athletic career.”
Prior to the Outsports interview, Kim had met with the other defensive backs on the team and come out to them, and they gave him a standing ovation, he told the site. He said he’s received unqualified support from teammates and coaches.
“They tell me they appreciate the fact that I felt confident enough, and they meant enough, for me to tell them,” he said.
He added that he feels free now. “I’ve spent too many years worrying what other people will think and letting it affect what I do in my daily life,” Kim said. “And I’m kind of done with that. It doesn’t affect my ability to play football. It doesn’t affect my ability to serve my country.”
Kim is a sophomore at the academy, which is located just outside Colorado Springs, and was previously a star football player at Skyline High School in Sammamish, Wash., near Seattle. After he graduates from the academy and completes his military service, he hopes to pursue a career in music. He plays the guitar and ukulele, and writes music as well. He is also a committed Christian and included a Bible quote in his Instagram post. The quote, from the book of Jeremiah, dealt with hope for the future.