UNIQUE STORY: Andres Bustani grew up in Mexico struggling with his sexual orientation. When he went to Lewis Clark State College in Idaho, he gained the strength to come out and found acceptance on his tennis team.
Growing up in Mexico was difficult. Although things are beginning to change, Mexico was and still is very much of a “macho” country, a country where traditional values were assumed to be right, and where being gay wasn’t as accepted.
Early on in my life I began to realize that I was different from all of the other guys, but I couldn’t understand what it was. Once I reached middle school, the term “gay” began to pop up more frequently. People used this term negatively and joked around with it by calling people or situations “gay.”
As I began to understand my sexual orientation more, these hurtful phrases made it even more challenging to come out because I assumed that my friends and peers would not accept me. I knew very few people who were openly gay at the time, and none of them played sports.
I began to play tennis when I was 8 years old. I quickly fell in love with the game; it gave me hope and a passion in life. After 13 years of living in Mexico City, my family and I moved to Cancun. This is when I started to notice that I was attracted to guys. Since I didn’t know anyone who was gay and didn’t have a positive role model, I allowed myself to bury those thoughts. Tennis helped me to escape negative thoughts; it was a way for me to release my stress.