BOOK REVIEW: Robbie Rogers’ “Coming Out to Play”

I have always been fascinated with coming out stories. The happy ones, at least.

I only knew that Robbie Rogers was gay when rumors started going around that he was dating Greg Berlanti, a TV show producer. Before that, I didn’t know who he was or what he did. Apparently, he was (still is) this soccer prodigy who already played for several teams, including the US National Team and even competed at the Beijing Olympics.

The first photo I saw of him was an Instagram post of Robbie wearing a police uniform.

Photo from TMZ
Photo from TMZ


I didn’t make an effort to read about his story. Mainly because I was not really into sports. And I though that his case was another sad one. I’ve heard of Jason Collins and how he was not drafted by any NBA team after he came out. It did not come as a surprise to me that being gay and being a professional athlete do not really marry well together.

It was only now that I knew Robbie’s story was completely different. Especially when he decided to continue his professional career and succeeded.

Coming-Out-to-PlayWell, just this month, I’ve read a couple of posts about a book by Robbie Rogers titled “Coming Out to Play” detailing his coming out story and that there was already interest in the book being adapted to a TV series. I got interested and decided to get a copy.

Finding a copy proved to be difficult for someone living in the Philippines. No local bookstore carries the book as of the moment, and iBooks do not sell eBooks in the Philippines.

It was a good thing that I have a US iTunes store account and I was able to purchase a copy of the book just 4 days ago. Yesterday, I finished the book and found respect for Robbie who not only had to deal with homophobia in the world he lives in, but somehow even with the homophobia from within himself.

It was such an easy read for me because I can relate to some of his stories. I mean, I am in an industry that is accepting of gay people but surprisingly, I seem to have encountered more people who are not tolerating of the LGBT community as compared to Robbie.

I had to deal with people using the term “bakla” (gay in English) to refer to anything derogatory. I had to deal with people who tried to shove in their religions down my throat like their beliefs are the absolute truth and my lifestyle is something unforgivable in their eyes.

What made it worse was that every time they are going to say really offensive, they begin it with the statement “you know me, I am very accepting of gay people. I have a lot of gay friends, but…”

Robbie effectively told his story in the book because I felt his pain, his suffering and his desperation.

I also felt his relief once he started telling people about who he really is.

The book may seem repetitive at parts but that was just how Robbie’s life unfolded — situations that seem to happen again and again because of the fact that he was not being true to himself.

Another aspect of Robbie’s life that I completely related to was his attempts to have relationships with women. I had been romantically involved with 3 women and at the time when I was with them, I sincerely thought that I loved them. There was no doubt that I liked them — but now I questions if I really loved them the way they should be loved.

Thinking about it now, maybe I got involved with them to somehow convince myself that I was straight and that I was just confused or curious, even.

That was why I couldn’t help but agree and relate with Robbie when he told in his book that he was being unfair to those women who he tried to be involved with.

I know I was unfair to them. And I am sorry.

“Coming Out to Play” is such a personal book for Robbie. And reading it was so personal for me either that it is impossible for me to say anything wrong about it.

If you are someone who had to deal with coming out, or someone who is still finding the courage to come out, I suggest you read this story. So that you know that your journey is not yours alone.

We all had to deal with it. Others are still dealing with it. The only thing you should remember is that you are not alone in that journey.


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