Book review: The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians, by Kate Fagan

reappearing actFagan, Kate. The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians. Skyhorse Publishing. 2014. $24.95. 200p. HC. 978-1-62914-205-0.

Recounting her experience on the University of Colorado’s women’s basketball team, Fagan tells how she aligned herself with the evangelical Christians on her team. Although not from a religious family, Fagan attended Bible studies and worship services and attempted to convince others to repent. During this time, she realized that she was a lesbian and found her new-found faith to be in conflict with her newly-discovered orientation. This memoir describes Fagan’s struggles to reconcile her beliefs with her orientation and the effect on her relationship with her teammates.

The memoir is unusual not because of Fagan’s struggle with her beliefs and her orientation but because she was not reared in a religious home. Rather than growing up with internalized homophobia as many religious persons do, Fagan chose to spend time with evangelical Christians during college. While she recounts many occasions when she attended Bible studies or prayed and worshiped with her teammates, Fagan never describes a conversion experience. In the language of the evangelical Christians whom she befriended, she was never “saved” or “born again.” Her struggle, then, with her orientation focuses more on how her teammates would react rather than how God would react. Although she did come out to a couple of teammates, there was never a big coming out experience where she admitted to the entire team that she was a lesbian and had to deal with the ramifications. Fagan herself states that she chose, as she claims many others in college sports do, to keep her orientation to herself and only tell a few close friends.

A good memoir, Fagan’s book includes many details about basketball games, places where her team traveled, etc. Sports fans will enjoy her style of storytelling. The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians would be a good addition to any public library collection.

Reviewer: Jenni Frencham, Librarian
Cesar Chavez Middle School, Hayward (CA)

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