It was not easy for Janelly Farias. It’s still hard more than 10 years after coming out as gay as a college soccer player.
But the American-born Mexican international hopes her personal journey can help ease the journey of millions of others who are dealing with similar issues.
Farias shared her tale on the latest episode of The Call Up, detailing the rejection she felt from her parents when she first told them she was gay and the toll that had on her life.
Farias, who played collegiately for New Mexico and UC Irvine and currently competes for Club America in Liga MX Femenil, quit soccer as a result and reached her lowest point personally, becoming an alcoholic and suicidal.
Janelly Farias on her personal journey for acceptance
Knowing there were so many others going through the same experiences when they came out would been beneficial, Farias said.
“There are millions of us who go through these things, who they are has so much value,” said Farias, who has represented Mexico at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship and has 13 caps with the national team. “Love is truly unconditional and love always wins. The people who really matter are going to be there.”
A key, she said, to rebuilding that relationship with her parents was through education and exposure.
“Having my parents understand what I was going through mentally and having an open mind as to hey, their culture brought them up a certain way and all this is, is different. It’s not wrong, it’s just different,” she said. "Different doesn’t mean it can’t happen. I just need to be patient with it and help them understand that maybe this is different, but this is who I am and i’m the same Janelly born 31 years ago and who I love isn’t going to change that.”
The building continues to this day, Farias said, but there’s positive signs — from her mother asking about her girlfriend to her father sharing posts about equality on Facebook.
“We’re still working on it, it’s not perfect, there are things that need to get better, it can be very, very hard,” Farias said. “There are still things they don’t understand, but now we are at a point where they respect who I am. I think that’s the most important thing.”
Listen to more from Farias and the latest around MLS on this week's episode of The Call Up.