LIFE LESSONS

Attitude - - Front Page - Words Markus Bi­daux

Golfer Tadd Fu­jikawa spills the tee

Tadd Fu­jikawa was lucky enough to grow up in Hawaii, but moved to the main­land of Amer­ica to fur­ther his ca­reer as a pro­fes­sional golfer. Af­ter years of hid­ing his ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and strug­gling with men­tal- health is­sues, he sought help for his anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion and started com­ing out to his clos­est friends and fam­ily.

In Septem­ber, at the age of 27, he hon­oured World Sui­cide Aware­ness Day by com­ing out publically on In­sta­gram — be­com­ing the first openly gay pro­fes­sional golfer

I STARTED TAKING GOLF VERY SE­RI­OUSLY AT THE AGE OF 12 AND WAS THE YOUNGEST PLAYER TO COM­PETE IN THE US OPEN. IT WAS CRAZY, IT ALL HAP­PENED SO FAST. IT WAS MY JUMP

START INTO THINGS

I still con­sider Hawaii my home, but left af­ter high school in 2010 to pur­sue my ca­reer. It’s a great place but it is very ex­pen­sive and too far from ev­ery­thing. I couldn’t give my­self the best op­por­tu­nity to make it as a pro­fes­sional golfer there

I did a re­ally good job of hid­ing my anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion. I al­ways put a smile on my face so it was dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to know what I was go­ing through

AROUND THE AGE OF 21, I CAME OUT TO MY BEST FRIEND. I SLOWLY TOLD MORE FRIENDS, THEN MY MOM ABOUT FOUR YEARS AGO. I HADN’T TOLD MY DAD OR MY GRAND­PAR­ENTS UN­TIL RIGHT BE­FORE MY COM­ING- OUT POST ON IN­STA­GRAM

See­ing other gay ath­letes and celebri­ties’ com­ing- out sto­ries and liv­ing their lives gave me hope and made we want to do the same thing and to help em­power oth­ers

I DON’T RE­ALLY HAVE TIME OFF. I’M ON THE COURSE PRAC­TIS­ING FOR AT LEAST

SIX HOURS EVERY DAY

The love and sup­port of friends and fam­ily helped me push through and gave me the in­spi­ra­tion to keep reach­ing to­wards my goals and dreams

The end of 2012 was the start of a low point for me and I strug­gled with anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion for four years there­after. I have never been clin­i­cally di­ag­nosed, but it is one of those things you just know when you have all the symp­toms. The se­cret I was car­ry­ing around was not good for [ meet­ing] men and wasn’t help­ing my ca­reer

I KNEW I WAS GAY WHEN I WAS 16, AS MUCH AS I TRIED TO FIGHT IT

No other golfer knew [ I was gay] and I’ve only met a few gay am­a­teur play­ers

I’VE WON A FEW COM­PE­TI­TIONS, MOST RE­CENTLY THE HAWAII STATE OPEN LAST DECEMBER. I WISH I WOULD HAVE DONE A BIT BET­TER SINCE TURN­ING PRO, BUT LOOK­ING AT WHERE I AM NOW I WOULDN’T CHANGE ANY­THING

My out­look on life has changed since go­ing through all my strug­gles. My em­pa­thy to­wards oth­ers has grown. I want to in­spire peo­ple to be their best selves, [ us­ing] golf as a plat­form

When I felt alone, my faith felt like my only hope. At the same time, it was very dif­fi­cult to come to terms with be­ing gay and the whole God and Je­sus thing. I came to terms with it a cou­ple years ago. For me, it is about my re­la­tion­ship with God and my spir­i­tu­al­ity, more than just the re­li­gion it­self

I HAVE RE­CEIVED THOU­SANDS OF MES­SAGES FROM PEO­PLE I DON’T KNOW BE­CAUSE OF MY COM­ING- OUT POST AND THEY HAVE BEEN SO POS­I­TIVE, EVEN THE ONES FROM OTHER GOLFERS. I HAVE NOT BEEN IN THE ME­DIA SPOT­LIGHT FOR QUITE A FEW YEARS SO I DIDN’T THINK IT WOULD BE­COME

SUCH A BIG NEWS STORY

I live on an is­land in the state of Ge­or­gia called Saint Si­mons , which is great for golf, but be­ing gay in the South is not as ac­cepted as [ else­where] so there are not that many gay peo­ple around here. I just wish there were

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