College track stars Justin Rabon and Brad Neumann have been dating for more than two years, but their love story is just now making waves after the two each wrote a personal essay for Outsports about their experiences coming out.
Each essay is great on its own, but in combination they reveal a love story so pure and precious.
Rabon was the first to come out, he writes in his essay, and Neumann — who was just his best friend at the time — was the first guy he ever came out to.
"I sat on my bed having written a text that I was gay or bi and had the idea that I might like men. I stared at my phone, my finger hovering over the send button," he wrote.
"Click. I shot it off, wanting to instantly run two miles away from my phone and never look at the response. His response came faster than I could run.
"'Oh, that’s cool.'"
It's a good thing he didn't run away (and he's a track star, so he could run fast), since Neumann later came out to him as well, in response to that text.
It came at a much-needed time for Neumann, who was sick of hiding himself and needed someone he could talk to.
"I remember walking to the track in the middle of the night, just to walk aimlessly in circles, crying with frustration," Nuemann wrote in his essay. "I just wanted someone to relate to for the first time in my life.
Justin Rabon essentially saved my life."
Both guys grew up in conservative environments that had open disdain for gay men and attempted to hide their sexualities for years — Nuemann wrote that he even thought that excelling in track would help him seem less gay — and it did, for everyone except himself.
But sports also led him to Rabon, who decided to transfer to the University of Minnesota shortly after they started dating so that they could run on the same track team (and, surely, just generally be closer to each other).
"The best decision I think I’ve made was transferring schools and truly deciding to stay true to my character as a person while being here," Rabon wrote. "In being myself, I have made the most genuine friends, made the greatest memories, and found myself in the process."
He and Nuemann are both out now, and certainly seem happy — at least, if their Instagram accounts are any indication.
"Two-and-a-half years later, we are still together, we are still in love, we are both out, and we are both proud of who we are," Nuemann wrote. "He has pushed me beyond the limits I thought were possible for myself and has shown me that no matter where you come from and what your circumstances are, you deserve to be happy and real with yourself."
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