Colin Quinn

Tell us about yourself! What do you do for a living? What are your interests? What are your pronouns?

My name is Colin Quinn and I use he/him/his pronouns.  This year I am an 8th-grade science teacher in a virtual school, but I have taught a variety of grades and subjects between 5-8 grade.  I’m a huge sports guy.  I coach football and baseball as well as officiate basketball and baseball.  It is a great way for me to stay in shape while also getting to help and support youth outside the classroom.  I just purchased my first home in the Philly suburbs, and I am excited to make it my own.  My boyfriend is moving in with me, so that is a positive step in our relationship.

About how old were you when you came out? How was the climate you grew up in?

I was about 20 years old when I came out.  I was in college and for the first time in my life, I was exposed to different ideas around sexuality.  I was raised in a loving home with my mom, dad, younger brother, and two cats.  We attended Catholic church regularly and I even taught Sunday school classes.  This religious upbringing and lack of visible representation held me back from discovering who I was until later in life.  While coming out to my family did not go as well as I had anticipated, over the years my family has grown tremendously in their acceptance of and support of me.

Did you make career choices that allowed you to feel comfortable being open about your sexuality? (Are you out or feel comfortable being out at your workplace?)

Teaching is a very accepting career by nature.  I have known I wanted to be a teacher since I was a student in middle school.  The location of the Philadelphia suburbs coupled with the nature of teaching has allowed me to be more and more of my authentic self.  I was very hesitant at first and have had colleagues tell me to “Maybe not share that” part of my life with students.  This year I have been more open than ever on my journey to being a fully out individual.  As a coach, I have not been as forthcoming with my sexual orientation, but my players have found my TikTok where I post messages supporting LGBT rights and visibility so some of them know.  Being out in the sports world is a tough notion.  Sports are not the same welcoming environment as school as a whole, so I have been treading those waters slightly differently than my main job.

If you could tell your younger self something about yourself that you are proud of today, what would it be?

I would tell my younger self that I am proud of myself for being flexible with my expectations and that reality is never what you predict it to be.  We all take a unique journey to get to where we are in life and I have not followed the path I had envisioned, but I am better for it. 

Have you tried to surround yourself with like-minded peers/colleagues? If so, how? 

I have gravitated towards colleagues who are like-minded and stand up for justice, equity, and basic human rights. Part of this has been through watching and seeing where people stand on issues.  Other times I’ve seen a role model who I just want to get to know better and be around.  Being a part of my school’s GSDA (Gender, Sexuality, and Diversity Alliance) has allowed me to connect with peers who are in my corner.  Finding a support system has been essential to my comfort in being out at my job.

Who were your role models growing up? What tv shows/movies allowed you to feel seen?

My football/baseball coach was my biggest non-family role model.  He was a guiding force for allowing me to be a part of sports despite following some non-traditional paths.  My parents were also and continue to be role models for me.  I absolutely RAVE about The Fosters.  A lesbian couple fostering and adopting children is the representation I live for.  I one day hope to become a dad with a partner and raise children in this world.

Complete the sentence, if I knew ____________ back when I was first figuring myself out, I would tell them _____________________? 

If I knew the toll it takes on you to keep hiding secrets back when I was first figuring myself out, I would tell you to live your truth as soon as you can.

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