Alan Moore knows that if homophobia in sports is going to decline it has to start from the top. That is, professional athletes and coaches need to instill a more accepting attitude in the young players who look up to them.
“It’s important for professional athletes to lead the charge because as much as some of them like to think they’re not role models they really are,” says Moore. “We see bad behavior filter down, like fighting in sports, so good behavior will filter down as well.”
Moore curls in the Keystone Rainbow Curling League, an all-gay curling league. He’s also a coordinator for Out There Sports & Recreation, an organization he says is helpful for gay youths trying to find their way.
For Moore, personally, Out There helped him become part of the LGBT community. Growing up outside of Winnipeg, and not taking to the bar scene, he lacked connection to that community.
“It’s something I want to make sure is always there and I’m personally driven to expand programs so we can get others involved as well.”
Moore grew up in St. Germaine, MB but went to high school in Winnipeg. He didn’t play any typical team sports, like hockey or soccer, but he, his brother and his sister all took to curling at a very young age.
“Curling has a really good history of sportsmanship and etiquette,” he says. “You don’t get the taunting and trash talk that you get in other sports. That stuff can discourage people.”
When he came out at the age of 19, Moore was unsure how his family would handle it.
“My mother’s family is very religious,” he says. “I was lucky enough that I have three older gay cousins and I saw their experiences with coming out, so there’s been a change in how it happens and how my family processes it.”
Moore has stuck to curling throughout his sports career. He likes it because it mixes a solitary pursuit with a team sport.
“Curling is good because you can work as a team but really it’s about focusing on yourself,” he says. “It allowed me to develop my game better because you don’t focus on what others are doing.”
Moore took advantage of Out There Sports & Recreation at a time when he was struggling to find his way into the LGBT community after moving into the city.
He says it’s an important program that gets more gay teens and adults involved in sports.
“It’s an aspect of our community that we don’t pay as much attention to as we should,” he says. “As times change and we start to see young people changing the way they think about the community we need to adapt to let people know they can be part of the community.”
For Moore, Out There did that, and he believes it can do the same for others.
This is the 3rd article in a series by Stephen Burns on sexual orientation in sports. You can read the other articles in which Burns profiles several gay athletes and examines their journey through the world of sports, by clicking on this link here: Out of the closet and off the bench