MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — “That takes balls, man.”

When the 6’5″ former University of Minnesota Gophers offensive lineman came out to one of his football teammates, that was the response Luke McAvoy says he got.

McAvoy’s teammate followed it up with, “I’m proud of you.”

McAvoy, a 23-year-old Illinois native, shared his experience coming out on campus with Outsports.com on Wednesday from the perspective of someone who always wanted to play for a Big Ten team.

“To be completely honest I had said those words to one other person, my mother. It was a few days before I started my senior season of high school,” McAvoy wrote. “After days of making deals with myself and breaking promise after promise, I broke down and told her. The next thing that she said to me was one of the best and worst pieces of advice I have ever received: “Hide it, whatever you do, hide it.'”

McAvoy told Outsports that his response from his teammates, however, gave him a sense of relief.

“I felt better than I ever had,” he wrote.

McAvoy said that as more people found out, he was met with both love and acceptance, but also some people who didn’t take it well, and his coaches never broached the topic.

He said his one regret is that he didn’t actually come out sooner while at the University of Minnesota, even though he said he lost some friends and even family members as a result of his decision.

“When I was hiding and full of fear, I would imagine coming out and it always ended with rejection, hate or loneliness. I did not once expect it to go OK. In reality, it went great. I was surrounded by people who cared and supported me,” he wrote.

According to Outsports, McAvoy now teaches middle school in the Milwaukee area.

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