Former MLB player TJ House has come out as gay, announcing his engagement to his longtime partner. House is the third MLB player to come out, after Glenn Burke in the 80s and Billy Bean in the 90s, and he is the first to do so in over two decades.
House shared the news in an emotional Facebook post. “I’ve struggled my entire life with being comfortable in my own skin,” he began. “I have purposefully distanced myself from people for the sake of trying to protect myself.
“It’s disheartening how one simple thing can change an individual’s opinion of you in a matter of seconds. It has taken me years to wake up every morning and tell myself that you are loved for you, the one that’s deep down inside that you’ve never truly let out.”
House recalled using his career as a way to distract himself. “I’ve been loved my whole life for what I did as a career, and it carried me for the longest time,” he said. “Eventually though, it’s a bandage that covers a wound that needs fresh air to heal. You have to rip it off at some point if you truly want to get better. Shame has kept me quiet all these years, but Love has finally set me free.”
As for why he avoided coming out until now, House also cited experiences with homophobia as a big reason. “I’ve sat in many rooms, listened to conversations around me, sat in pews at church, and read posts that have led me to act otherwise,” he said. “It’s hard listening to people talk about you without them knowing that the words they are saying are directed at you.”
But with the recent passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, House was inspired to announce his engagement to fiancé Ryan Neitzel. “Today’s passage of the Respect for Marriage Act protects us to have the same rights and opportunities that each of you have,” he said. “It protects the same benefits. It makes us equal to you.
“It allows Ryan Neitzel and I to come together and create something beautiful. It gives me the confidence to get engaged to the person I love (he said Yes!), to marry them. I have a wonderful fiance, who challenges me daily to become a better person. To live life authentically. One who I never deserved but blessed to have. Love you see, it’s for everyone.”
View this post on Instagram
Before he was officially out, House and Neitzel had been posting pictures together on Instagram for years. A recent post seems to mark the couple’s eighth anniversary, with House writing, “Happy 8 turns around the sun.”
House’s career began in 2008 when he was selected for the MLB Draft out of high school. Between 2014 and 2017, he pitched for the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays, and he played for the Chicago White Sox minor league until 2020. Now a free agent, House is looking forward to his next big adventure with soon-to-be husband Neitzel.