Former Real Salt Lake teammate and current Salt Lake City resident Brian Dunseth was a consistent presence on the team’s defense throughout their 2005 season. While struggling through injuries, Dunseth helped shape the team in its opening season. This pro soccer player who has played in professional leagues around the world is also an outspoken advocate for gay rights and even participated in the NOH8 photo campaign. We caught up with him to ask him about gay marriage, gays in Major League Soccer and how he got involved in the NOH8 Campaign.
How did you get connected with the NOH8 Campaign?
I was contacted via Twitter by my buddy Chris from Gay4Soccer a couple of months back. He let me know that the NOH8 Campaign was coming through Salt Lake City and gave me all of the details.
Why did you feel it was important to take a stand and a photo?
The opportunity to be a part of something that promoted a basic human right and is taken for granted by so many was something that I and my family wanted to be involved with. My wife, Jade, would have also been in the picture, but she had something come up at work the day of, so it ended up being just my son, Shia, and me.
How open is the environment in MLS?
I would like to think that because of the incredible amount of diversity inside the locker rooms that I’ve been a part of, someone would feel comfortable with opening up to his teammates. It didn’t happen when I was a player, but I had a few teammates tell me afterward.
How would you have reacted if a team member came out as gay?
I hopefully would have reacted that same way if a teammate was talking to me about something going on in their personal life outside the game.
Do you have friends or family members that are gay?
I had a very unique upbringing that has given me more advantages in life than I ever could have imagined. My father told me he was gay when I was 12 years old. I’ve been able to see, up-close and personal, loving relationships from both sides, as well as creating relationships that made me a much better person as I grew older. Some of closest relationships my wife and I have are with friends that are gay.
Do you have any advice for your young gay fans?
Be true to yourself. “You’re never as good as they say nor as bad as they say” was the quote that has personally stuck with me the most over the years.