Pro Baseball Player Bryan Ruby Comes Out

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday September 5, 2021
Originally published on September 3, 2021

Pro baseball player Bryan Ruby, who is with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, is the first pro baseball player to come out as gay, telling USA Today Sports about the pain of the closet and the liberation of leaving it behind.

Ruby was in his early teens when he began to understand he was gay, the article said. "That's when the hiding began. Along with the darkness."

But now the 25-year-old is speaking out, hoping to bring some light into the lives of other young people who feel forced into living a lie.

"Being closeted for basically 10 years, it was a struggle the whole time," the athlete reflected. "I used to hate myself. Hate how I felt. I'd ask why am I feeling this way?"

"I want to help create a world where future generations of baseball players don't have to sacrifice authenticity or who they really are to play the game they love," Ruby added.

"If I can help just one person, then that's greater than any single hit or home run or win that I ever get on the field."

The infielder went on to take note of the importance of visibility. "Each time somebody comes out in industries where queer people have not been historically represented in the mainstream, it helps to crumble the myth that you can't be yourself.

"But we're in the 2020s," he went on to declare. "It's about damn time for this."

Ruby has an unusual platform from which to shine his beacon of hope: He's not just a pro baseball player, but also a chart-topping country & western songwriter.

Ruby recounted that "at first I thought being gay was a huge weakness. Then I realized that I can bring something different to the table. Love songs don't need to be gay or straight. And I've been able to write my best songs by being authentic." The article noted that Ruby will be featured in a forthcoming documentary titled "Out in Nashville."

But as talented as he might be at songwriting, it's baseball, Ruby said, that is "the lens through which I see the world."

"I've been a baseball player since I was seven or eight, way before I knew I was gay." It's also a passion he has pursued around the world, playing internationally in half a dozen countries prior to signing on with the Volcanoes this past spring, CBS Sports noted.

"Ruby told his family and close friends he was gay four years ago, then his teammates this summer," USA Today Sports detailed. "But being out to the world publicly was the last step."

"But I don't like the connotation to 'coming out,' " the multi-talented Ruby corrected. "Because it's more like 'inviting in.' "

Ruby's public embrace of authenticity "follows a summer in which Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib and Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop also came out as gay," USA Today Sports noted. "After years of no actively out players in men's professional sports, now there are three."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.