Bree Horrocks Is Ready To Play Her Game

Panel discussions like the one that Bree Horrocks took part in at Purdue University in spring of 2015 tend not to make national news; they may not even make the school paper. For Horrocks, it was a different story. By participating in the Purdue LGBTQ Center’s panel on inclusion in sports, Horrocks accidentally thrust herself into the spotlight by becoming not only the first openly gay athlete in a revenue sport at Purdue University history, but also the first openly gay female athlete among the Power Five conference schools.

“One reporter turned to me and said, ‘So how does it feel to be the first out gay women’s athlete in college?’” Horrocks remembered. “And I thought, what are you talking about? I knew other people who were out. Why was this title falling on me?”

 The label landed heavily. Newspapers and media outlets across the country jumped on the story, and the Indianapolis Star ran a Q&A article shortly after the panel discussion that opened with the following cringeworthy lede:

Bree Horrocks is gay. She wants you to know that about her.

This is not quite right. Horrocks is gay, but she wants you to know that about her just as much and no more than she wants you to know that she’s a basketball player, an open-minded and outspoken person, and a hockey fan. She spoke out about her sexuality as a way to cast some light on the myriad of issues that LGBTQ athletes face. She wanted to use her platform as means to enact change and serve as an advocate. It was never about her. And so she made the decision that changed the course of her basketball career, without ever quite intending to make it.

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