What's on your mind?

My teammates often make jokes towards me that are homophobic or ostracizing, how do I approach them without making it seem like I am sensitive and can’t take a joke?

Emma Gee & Nikki Hiltz
She/Her & They/Them
Track & Field

Every athlete deserves to train in a respectful environment, and it is important to stand up for yourself in this situation. I recommend approaching the teammates in a calm, private setting, and tell them honestly and directly about how their jokes make you feel. Use ‘I’ statements to avoid sounding accusatory, but be firm and open about how the jokes hurt and create a negative environment. Stay calm and confident to show that you are serious. At the end, express appreciation for their willingness to listen and say something along the lines of, “I value our team and the fun we have together, and I want to make sure it’s a great experience for all of us.” If your teammates don’t respond well, it’s time to seek support from coaches/staff.

Together, always,
Emma Gee & Nikki Hiltz
Emma Gee & Nikki Hiltz
She/Her & They/Them

Emma Gee is a queer professional track athlete specializing in the 3000 meter steeplechase & currently training for the 2024 Track & Field Olympic Trials. She was the first LGBTQ+ athlete to come out publicly at BYU and actively works to challenge anti-queer policies at religious institutions through her Queer Athlete Podcast and as co-race director of the Pride 5K.

Nikki Hiltz is a trans nonbinary professional track athlete, and is the first openly non-binary runner to win a USA Track and Field championship title. The middle-distance specialist is a 4 time USATF National Champion, a seven-time NCAA All-American, World Championship finalist, Pan American Games gold medalist, World Indoor Silver Medalist and American Record Holder.