GAY HOCKEY REFEREE RECEIVES SUPPORT

GAY HOCKEY REFEREE RECEIVES SUPPORT

Alex Valvo is a collegiate hockey referee who happens to be gay. He sees a link between his on-ice life, where referees exist to ensure fair play, and his off-ice life. “All that referees want is a fair game between two teams,” he says. “And that’s all the LGBT community wants — the same fair treatment as everyone else in our everyday life.”

 

This is a big week for Valvo. He’s getting his graduate degree at one college commencement Wednesday and Saturday he’s an event planner for another one. Next week is also big: Monday he starts a job at an advertising firm.

 

Last week was big, too. That’s when Outsports.com published a first-person story in which Valvo told about how he worried what his fellow officials would think when he came out on Facebook 18 months ago. Would they still feel comfortable sharing the ice and a locker room with him?

 

Valvo didn’t have to wonder for long. Texts came so quickly he couldn’t keep up. The theme: “I’ll have your back no matter what.”

 

Family and friends embraced him too. He expected that from loved ones. And disparaging remarks were few. “A few idiots from my high school posted some stuff,” Valvo says, adding that one later apologized.

 

Valvo, 24, has been officiating hockey games since he was 12. “I traded in my stick for a whistle,” he says, “because I wasn’t a very good player.”

 

Source: www.usatoday.com

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