UMKC welcomes first openly gay college wrestler

The first openly gay college wrestler, Justice Horn, was welcomed into the Roo family this 2019 spring semester.

Horn first attended Northern State University, located in South Dakota, where he studied business administration and competed as a NCAA wrestler.

Horn began wrestling in high school where he also played football and ran track at the Freshman Center High School in Blue Springs, Missouri.
During his adolescence, Horn felt he could hide behind “rugged sports” while wrestling with his own sense of self.

In an interview conducted by Ja’han Jones through the Huffington Post, Horn explains that he first came out his freshman year of high school to his teammates.

Later, when Horn picked Northern State University to further his education, he made the choice to come out to his coach and teammates in an effort to be open and honest with not only himself, but to his team as well.

“My experience coming out has been a positive one with highs and lows, but I did it because I want to continue on that progress,” said Horn. “I believe representation matters, and it accelerates acceptance.”

Horn explains that the road hasn’t always been smooth, and that he’s also had to deal with the kind of backlash that many LGBT people face.

“My goal is to change hearts and minds, and that happens with going to audiences that do not always agree with you and showing them that I am living proof of progress,” said Horn.

Horn explains that he has made his return back to Kansas City for the opportunities. He’s acclimated himself into the community by joining organizations and taking on positions such as the SGA Bloch School of Business senator.

Horn has stepped away from wrestling to focus on a career in politics. He continues to be an activist for the LGBT community by sharing his story with others to spread awareness and promote acceptance and equality for all.

“When I came out, it made me a national figure, and I am proud that my story touched the lives of so many people. I have had dozens of people contact me saying that my story helped them come out because of what it means and who I am,” said Horn.

lsahdf@mail.umkc.edu

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