|Graphic by YIKES,Inc.|
It's influential when gay skating competitors come out, but gay or gay-supportive skating coaches make at least as much difference to the sport at the grassroots level.
Although Darin Hosier, 32, has known the excitement of medalling at Nationals (bronze, 1984 novice), these days he says he's "put the teaching cap on." He coaches skating at the Highland Ice Rink in Seattle, along with other members of Seattle Ice Theater, and his love for the work is evident in every word.
One of the things he does as a coach is help maintain "very much an open environment," one in which his students know he is gay and know they can come to him for support and advice as needed. The issue might come up, for example, if a student inquires about the ring on Hosier's finger, he says, or meets his partner of five years. The openness must be working, because Hosier reports that "I really haven't had a backlash at the rink."
He is not performing at Seattle's annual gay sports festival Slide for Pride this year, but last year ten of his students performed there, and this year he expects several of his students to skate there as well as at Adult Nationals.More information on Hosier