Nicholas “Rush” Rotas is one of the few openly gay martial artists in the United States. He’s not necessarily the best fighter around. In fact, he’s nothing more than a blue belt, but that’s not the point. His team from Spokane, Washington, has provided him with an invaluable support network. Not a single man on the team cares that they’re sparring and training with a gay man, and Rotas takes pride in that fact.
Rotas wrote on Outsports:
“It saddens me that many gay people may not ever experience the amazing support and skill offered by these sports because of fear: fear that they won’t be accepted, or that they might get kicked out or shunned for being who they are. There is a disheartening storyof a man who was kicked out of his gym after being outed in South Carolina a few years back, and I think that reputation has stuck among the gay community in spite of clear progress over the years.”
“At the end of the day, to them I’m just Rush: their teammate, friend and I just happen to be gay.”
In martial arts and BJJ especially, everything is about dedication and determination. Sexual orientation doesn’t matter, although that wasn’t the case a couple decades ago. An openly gay martial artist finding support group in fellow fighters is an incredible development. Yes, it seems like an obvious and unsurprising thing for most people today. Not all sports are so accommodating to gay athletes, though.
When a person fights for his team with honor and determination, the team rewards that fighter with comradery – plain and simple.