I’m a Bozeman High student, I’m an athlete, and I’m queer. Believe it or not, these identities aren’t mutually exclusive, contrary to sentiments expressed in recent publications regarding Bozeman High’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I could speak endlessly to the toxicity that culminates at the intersection of athletics and a queer identity: the stereotype that LGBTQ+ women mandatorily have a “masculine” physique. Or that gay athletes are predatory in the locker room. I fulfill neither of these misconceptions nor do most queer athletes at Bozeman High. Yet, our society is filled with spaces that allow for these ideas about queer athletes to fester and grow. This is the discrimination being practiced at Bozeman High.

No, I’ve never personally been the target of intolerance due to my sexuality, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always felt safe in my school. The statement of faith signed by leaders of FCA is a perfect example of this. While (to my knowledge) no members of FCA have actively displayed prejudice, knowing that they willingly participate in a group that quite clearly expresses homophobic attitudes makes me question their naive role. With that said, I’d like to make it abundantly clear that I have no problem with the student members of FCA. They have every right to practice their religion, but that isn’t an excuse to simultaneously practice discrimination, intentional or not.

This can and will be a pivotal moment in Bozeman High’s history as it requires not just the administration, but the city to decide how our community will respond when injustice is taking place. It’s hard enough to be a queer athlete because of the stereotypes already mentioned, let alone with organizations such as FCA that further divide the two identities.

Lucy Child