Nathaniel Fort is a young guy from Arkansas who’s explaining in the interview about difficulties of growing up in a small country town and how cruel people really can be.
Nathan is a really nice guy, he is a real survivor and fighter. For going through something as rough as being sexually abused and raped, and openly talk about it, it sure requires great courage to talk openly about it. What makes YOU strong? He’s really great in basketball. Could Nathan be the next NBA superstar?
Check the interview with this great guy and support his causes.
- Where are you from and where do you live now? How old are you?
I was born in the small country town of Cedarville, Arkansas of two thousand people, but now live in Newton, Kansas where I attend Bethel College. I am currently 22 years old, but I will turn 23 years old on November 20th.
- Could you please explain a bit more about where you grew up and how life was there?
Growing up in Cedarville, Arkansas was one of the greatest memories of my life filled with experiences and memories from friends and family that I will never forget. There is one problem with this though; Cedarville and the surrounding areas is one of the most homophobic parts of the country. People of the LGBT community around these parts are almost treated like a second class citizen at time. Even getting beat up and shot is a common factor in this. I sadly know this because some of these events have happened to me every time I go back home. Of course I have people from back home that love and support me, but I have probably lost seventy five percent of my support system, loved ones, and other people because of my sexuality. The ones that I haven’t lost in my life have been grateful even though I have people that treat me differently or talk to me in a different tone. It may not be the best situation, but it has helped me keep my faith and trust in God and find out who my real friends are.
- What role has religion played in your life? Any specific occasions it has been more important to you?
Being a follower of Christ is the most important thing that I have in my entire life. I grew up being a Christian, but never understood why until I had a certain negative experience happen to me. When I tried to commit suicide, I got to the edge of the cliff with a twenty five foot drop that sent me down to an entrance of death, but somehow I woke up. I was somehow still alive and didn’t know how I was. All I could do was lay there and cry. After a few moments, I just said “God if you can help me and have a plan for my life, then I will serve you for the rest of my life.” Two experiences I will never forget from this are that I had a voice tell me to get up even though I was sure that both of my legs were probably broken from the fall. The other one was that I was able to walk with no broken bones, but just a few bruises.
- At what age was your first date with a guy and how did it go?
The first date I ever had with a guy was at 20 years old right before I went to Bethel College. It was also one of the first times I had ever visited a gay club by myself. I watched the drag show that night and met a guy there that was really sweet and nice to me. People were everywhere and after the club, we went to get food and drive around a little until he offered me a drink. Little did I know that the drink I had was actually drugged. The last thing I remember was that I was in my truck waking up in pain knowing that something bad happened to me. I was drugged, sexually abused, and raped.
- I know you play basketball, when did you start playing and how has your career been so far?
I started playing basketball when I was about six years old playing in the recreation league with other kids around my age. My abilities started to get better on the court throughout the course of my life that I caught the attention of other coaches, players, and parents around my community. It helped me so much that I accomplished my goals of being an all-conference and all-state player and became the fourth best rebounder in the state my senior year of high school. Eventually I got a full ride college scholarship to a Christian called Ecclesia College where I played for a year before transferring to Bethel College to move to get my degree in teaching and getting my masters in counseling soon. This past season of my career turned out to be one of the best despite my sexuality problems being one of the best scorers and rebounders on the team and also got recognition from other coaches and players in the conference. It may have not been the way I expected it, but it is a season that I will always remember with my brothers.
- Does your team know about your sexual orientation? If so, how was their reaction when they found out?
Yes all my teammates know about my sexuality. I told every one of them before the season started with a one on one conversation with each of them to not create attention, but to let them know and be upfront and honest about my story and the situation that I was in. My sexuality didn’t define who I was, but was a part of me just like basketball was a part of my life. It was so scary telling every one of them, but I’m glad I did in which I became closer with my teammates and coaches and felt free to be myself on and off the court. Some of them had heard rumors around school about my sexuality and some were pretty shocked because of how masculine I may seem (even though I twerk to Beyoncé in the locker room sometimes). Some of my players were fearful about my sexuality, but they got over it from playing well and helping the team into a positive way. Some of them were very supportive of my sexuality and I even talked about my personal life with them sometimes to make sure I was doing okay. Plus I was the only guy on the basketball team that could help them get with the hot girls on campus (ha ha).
- What difficulties have you come across being gay?
- The homophobia that I face back in my home state of Arkansas. Ever since I came out to the world, a lot of people have treated me differently and some will not speak to me at all. It has gotten so bad that I’ve had a few country boys from my hometown try to point a gun in my face, a scary experience that I will never forget, but sadly want to.
- Most of my family members like cousins, aunts, uncles, and others will not speak to me anymore.
- Most people would ask me “How are you gay and a college basketball player?” Apparently I don’t fit the stereotype as a gay male. Since when did basketball have to do with someone’s sexuality?
- Dating has been very difficult for me because I’m so busy with school, sports, and my organization, but a big part of it of being gay is that there are not a lot of guys my age that have their life together or not wanting a relationship. I have had guys tell me I’m too famous or too much in the LGBT scene that they couldn’t handle it. Even though it’s a struggle sometimes, I usually stop looking and wait for the right person to come along.
- Do you have any role models, if so, who?
The biggest two role models I have are Jesus Christ and my mother. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today with their love, protection, guidance, support, and affection towards me.
- What activities have you found that have made you stronger?
- Having therapy sessions with my counselor (there is no shame in getting help with the problems of life).
- Talking to close friends and family with certain difficulties and situations. Never bottle things up because at some point, it will all come out.
- Do things that make me happy such as going on random road trips, hiking, cooking, and exploring the world.
- Writing in a journal of all my thoughts.
- Praying and reading the Bible.
- What would you say to guys that find themselves in a similar situation that you went through?
- Be careful who you trust and who you tell your business to.
- Always take care of yourself first.
- Make smart choices every day because the dumb decisions can come back and bite you in the butt later on in life.
- The ones who can’t love you through the bad shouldn’t love you through the good either.
- Please don’t make the same mistakes that I made. If you get sexually abused or have thoughts of suicide and even depression, please go talk to someone you trust. If you can’t find someone you trust, go talk to a counselor. There is no shame in getting help with the resources that we have today.
- If you decided to come out, just realize you will have people that may be against you, but I promise you that there will be a support system behind you and it will get better each and every day.
- Trust in the plan that God has for you.
- Keep the ones that accept you and love you no matter what close.
- Life is too short to worry, stress, and overthink everything.
- It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, white or black, gay or straight or even transgender; if you want something in life, go get it, and achieve your dreams.
- Never let your past define who you are, but let your present speak for itself in the future.
- Do not lower your standards for anyone. The one that is right for you will love you for the standards that you have. Always find someone who can love you through your mistakes and faults as long as your accomplishments and dreams.
- What is the most important thing for you for keeping a positive outlook on life?
The most important thing I can do is trust in what God has for me even though it’s hard to at times. When you wake up in the morning, you have a decision to have a good or bad attitude. Your attitude is going to determine on how your day will go. Don’t go through life being sad or mad, because there’s so much good and wonderful things in the world that we don’t recognize due to other people and the media. I always try to do different things that help keep my mind occupied and I try to control my stress every day so negative vibes don’t come my way. The other thing to help me stay positive is having positive people around me like my friends here at Bethel College or back home in Arkansas. Having people like that makes me want to achieve my dreams and help other people more and more each and every day.
There are many paths in your life you can take after such horrendous experience Nathan had. He’s a real survivor and a fighter. There’s nothing that will stop him now. Really hope that shortly there will be a talent hunter hunting him down for playing in high leagues.
Check out his Instagram and check out what’s Nathaniel Fort involved to:
I'm passionate about social media, new technologies, gadgets, business development, healthy cooking, fitness, music and travel. I like spending time walking around and getting inspiration.
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