Helena Brewers infielder David Denson
announced Saturday that he's gay, making him the first active player
in affiliated professional baseball to publicly come out of the
closet. The Helena Brewers is the advanced rookie affiliate of the
In a Milwaukee-Wisconsin
Journal Sentinel profile, Denson, 20, explained how he
recently came out to his teammates.
After a teammate jokingly referred to
him using a gay slur, Denson cautioned, “ Be careful what you say.
You never know.”
The comment led to an announcement.
“Talking with my teammates, they gave
me the confidence I needed, coming out to them,” Denson said.
“They said, 'You're still our teammate. You're still our brother.
We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your
ability. You're still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don't
treat you any different. We've got your back.'”
“That was a giant relief for me. I
never wanted to feel like I was forcing it on them. It just
happened. The outcome was amazing. It was nice to know my teammates
see me for who I am, not my sexuality.”
Denson reached out to Billy Bean, who
came out after he retired from baseball and last year was named MLB's
first Ambassador for Inclusion, for advice on coming out publicly.
“I'm excited to see David not have to
worry about all of that,” Bean said. “He can just tell the truth
all the time. That's a huge relief. When your life is a secret, you
have to navigate on what levels of truth you're allowed to share.
And that becomes exhausting.”
Denson told his parents in the spring.
“They weren't too happy about it at
first, though I think they sort of knew since I was little. They
were afraid I'd be judged. … It was harder on my dad than my mom.
He's a very hard-core Christian and he goes off the Bible and all
that, which I completely understand, growing up in the church. I'm a
“But I'm his son and he said, 'It's
your life and it's who you are. I love you,'” Denson said.