It seems that the hot topic of same-sex marriage is no longer a heated debate in most circles. Two-thirds of the nation opposed the notion in 1996, but in the last 17 years that number has shrunk below 50 percent. Its fate now sits before the U.S. Supreme Court and we await to see if the nation will join Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden as the 12th nation to accept same-sex marriage as a national legal standard.
And yet, in ways big and small, personal stories play out every day. And with every story, the nation seems to change.
One of those stories happened in a crowded hotel room in Boston last month. The night before Indoor Heps, the Penn women’s team gathered and both hurdler Eliana Yankelev and jumper Jenny Thompson asked the Quakers to pin Pride ribbons to their warmups, backpacks and uniforms to join the movement to end homophobia in athletics.
Yankelev, just a freshman, basically arrived on campus as an openly gay athlete, but Thompson announced, in that gathering, that she too was gay.
“Eliana being out made it so much easier because I saw how the track team reacted to her and it was fine,” Thompson told Mike Tony of the Daily Pennsylvanian. “She came into the team openly out as a freshman, which is pretty scary in my opinion. So I knew that if I came out too, no one would reject me.”
Note in the Doug Austin photo above, junior teammate Cydney Gillon supported her teammates with the Pride ribbon on her jersey.