Bryan Ruby, Out Baseball Player and Out Country Music Star: 2 Icons in 1
NASHVILLE — We know the theme: “Be your authentic self. Many pioneers of different genres embody it. They stand up and publicly declare themselves unique, real and visible. They awaken audiences to the fact that human diversity is the norm and embracing it is not just a badge for them, but offers everyone who observes them a chance to have similar freedom. Most pioneers choose a unique path to challenge misconceptions.
Bryan Ruby did it in two, neither of which seemed very LGBTQ-friendly so far. Not only did he break through the barrier of being the only gay baseball player in any professional league, but he also just dropped a new single as a gay professional country music singer/songwriter.
Her image on her music releases is sultry, sexy and thirsty. For baseball, his long brown locks are pulled back and his pumped muscles outline his baseball uniform. Either way, he’s beautiful, not just for who he is, but because of what he stands for and his generosity in making him available to boys who can’t see anyone like them in the world today. .
He remembers coming to terms with his sexuality. “It was scary. Growing up, I played baseball since I was 6 or 7 years old. My dad was the ballplayer. He was a pitcher and currently coaches baseball and I was that kid who had this little tee-ball bat, threw in the driveway at home and played for years. Before I knew anything about sexuality, I was a baseball player. At 14 or 15, the guys in my team started talking about the girls and the pressure kicked in. Oh, you’re a sportsman, “Where’s the girlfriend?” type of thing.
“Not being able to look around me and see someone who was gay, it was like I was really overwhelming. They say, if you can see it, you can be it. What’s going on when you’re that kid and you have that dream, but you can’t see anyone like you?”
Instead of his passion for other guys, he focused on passion for sports. He loved to travel, to be transported as a professional football player to places like South America. He remembers the thrill of a stadium where the whole city had shown up, and the stadium was packed, and the wild, enthusiastic response when he hit a brace in front of that crowd of strangers. “I love it, I’m a baseball player,” he confirmed.
Bryan moved past the paradigm that if a pro-ball player goes out, he’ll never play pro-ball again. His coming out took “a weight off his shoulders” and he played better than ever. He received offers after dropping out of three leagues, more than he had the previous year. He started the organization Proud to be in Baseball, which paves the way for gay children to play proudly and safely. They have something Bryan didn’t have. They CAN see someone who is gay, like them. They can see Bryan. They can see their future, a future where they don’t have to pretend to be someone else.
After his exit, it took reassurances from his teammates for him to understand the depths of his safety. He was dating his boyfriend Max, but never invited Max to a game. Max hadn’t seen him play, and he had never sat in the section designated “Wives and Girlfriends”. That changed one day when Bryan was confronted by his team. They were having a big playoff party and asked if Bryan would be there. He said he would be. They looked him straight in the eye and said, “We just want you to know that if you’re going to be there, your boyfriend better be there with you by your side.” HomeRun.
Recently, the media turned to him as a spokesperson when controversy hit the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. The Rays held their 16e annual Pride Night and had given its players a rainbow-themed badge to wear.
Team badges are not optional. Several team members, however, declined the LGBTQ lace-up badges. Usually, refusing to wear the designated badge is an insubordinate position for a player and comes with fines from the team organization. No repercussions occurred in this case however. The players cited religious beliefs as justification and the team condoned their behavior.
When asked by the media for his thoughts, Bryan replied, “We have a night at the stadium to be ourselves all year round, and that was just an indication that a lot of people still believe we don’t. ‘we don’t belong there and we’re not welcome and, even on Pride Night, we’re still second-class citizens.
For that, he received both praise and a ton of hate mail. “I was inundated, pretty vile stuff.”
However, the most poignant feedback came from a single communication. “I received a message from a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. An emotional message. It was one of their players who tracked my number who texted me after the Pride party. There is people like me in sports There’s a hidden one in the Tampa Bay Rays team that’s afraid to talk It gives me a purpose for the organization Proud to be in baseball We can connecting with other players who have nowhere to go Teams will be doing Pride events, which is fine, but in terms of real things that help players, that’s uncharted territory.
Country music is also uncharted territory for most LGBTQ people. Not only is country music not a typical environment for gay men, it is also not generally associated with baseball players. Bryan observed, “It kind of goes against the type of macho mold that we’re kind of supposed to have as male team sports athletes. Whether it’s baseball, football or hockey, music has always been a safe haven for me. If I have a tough game if I’m not playing well I just put my headphones on and listen to some music and relax and it’s always been there. It’s become a second passion for me and it’s almost taking over.
Supported, it has. He has written many country songs which have reached various country charts including iTunes Top Country. He won Season 7 of the Nashville Rising Song talent search contest.
He just released his first single, a country rock anthem destined to be a dance and chart hit, Left field.
Left field imbues the listener with a beat that challenges you to try not to stomp on the dance floor. It’s an inspiration to be yourself and allow your best life to emanate from “left field.” Bryan’s voice resonates in classic country fashion with a deep, sexy low register.
Proceeds from the sale of the single are 100% donated to the Proud to Be in Baseball organization. “After I came out, I didn’t just come out to get media attention. I wondered what we could really do to help young people like me who don’t think they can be themselves. They shouldn’t having to come to where I am and feel like they’re the only ones there, which is totally, totally untrue Whether they’re in Nashville or whether they’re in Laramie Wyoming or whether they’re in Venezuela or whatever. No child should feel like there are no adult versions of themselves and that they play their sport alone in the world,” Bryan emphasizes.
In the United States, our ballplayers are our heroes. Our country western singers are our consciences.
With Bryan Ruby, gay children now have one of each.