Bradley Kim, a defensive back at the Air Force Academy, announced Friday that he is gay. Kim, who shared his story on his Instagram account and through an interview with OutSports, is the first active player at a service academy to publicly come out.
“The biggest reason I want to share this is to be able to reach people who are in similar situations struggling with the same things I have struggled with,” Kim told OutSports. “I want to be that example for kids that you can be gay, you can pursue your dreams, and you can have an athletic career. My dreams got me to a D1 football program. I want to be there for people who don’t feel like they have anyone there for them, because I was that kid growing up in high school.”
Before going public with his story, Kim, a safety for the Falcons, informed his fellow defensive backs and received a standing ovation in response. Per OutSports, Kim had previously come out to his parents and various other Air Force teammates and coaches, all to responses of complete support. The Air Force Academy provided a statement to the Colorado Springs Gazette that said, “The academy strives to foster a culture where everyone gives and receives dignity and respect so that each individual has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.”
Receiving that kind of support made Kim’s decision to come out easier. He told OutSports that he felt no fear or anxiety about his decision following the reactions of those with whom he shared his story.
“I’ve spent too many years worrying what other people will think and letting it affect what I do in my daily life,” he told OutSports. “And I’m kind of done with that. It doesn’t affect my ability to play football. It doesn’t affect my ability to serve my country. No one cares here. We all go through the same thing, we all go through basic training. What we go through going through the Academy goes way deeper than worrying about what someone will think.”
Kim, a native of Sammamish, Wash., where he played three years of football at Skyline High, missed his freshman season last year due to a shoulder injury suffered in basic training. In May, he posted on Instagram that he’s fully recovered and ready to play.