Sports Women's Sports

More than an athlete: Lily Gould’s journey of coming out

By Collin Atwood

After dedicating all of their time to academics, athletics, and social justice issues, Lily Gould has been named a national finalist for the NCAA Division III LGBTQ Student-Athlete of the Year award. 

Gould is a junior at Springfield College majoring in psychology. In their time here Gould has made themselves a leader on the track and field team and in the LGBTQ community. However, Gould didn’t plan for it to go this way when they came to Springfield College.

“I came in not even being out with my sexuality… right into my first few months [at Springfield College] I came out,” Gould said.

Springfield College really helped Gould figure out who Gould was. 

“I think it’s just the vibe of this place. Ever since I stepped foot on campus, as a recruit even, I got that stereotypical feeling of this is your new home,” Gould said. 

That feeling only got reassured when Gould arrived on campus and saw the growth in the community. 

“I think calling everybody a leader here does something. I think it sets us apart from other campuses,” Gould continued.

Gould originally came to Springfield College thinking about advocating for women’s rights like they did during high school. “Since then I can’t even say that I’m an advocate for just women’s rights because I am non-binary.”

Ever since Gould has immersed themself as an advocate for the LGBTQ community. They immediately joined the Springfield College Gay-Straight Alliance club and quickly became an E-board member. That was just the start of Gould’s impressive resume.

Over the summer, Gould appeared on NBC where they talked about LGBTQ rights in the athletic world and also helped organize the college’s first-ever Pride Parade this past April.

“It was one of the events we could do in person and to see faculty, students, athletes, and anybody come together like that, that’s what it’s all about,” Gould said.

The junior hasn’t stopped fighting for LGBTQ rights. Over the past few semesters Gould, with the help of other students, was working on setting up a new club on campus called Athlete Ally.

Athlete Ally is a non-profit organization that helps make athletic communities more inclusive and Gould started a chapter with them here on Alden Street. “We started a chapter with them officially this semester,” Gould said.

Something exciting that Gould and the rest of the club are working on is getting pronouns on athletic rosters across the NCAA. “Not everyone just uses she/her or he/him pronouns on this campus and we’re trying to get more inclusive with pronoun use.”

Gould has been in talks with some major schools across all divisions to try and make this happen and if she does that will go down as another great accomplishment.

Being nominated as a finalist for the LGBTQ Student-Athlete of the Year is a great achievement considering that there are only five people nominated in the country for Division III sports. 

Gould applied for this award during the summer and was very surprised when they had been nominated. It wasn’t until Gould saw a post by Springfield that they were aware of the nomination.

“I didn’t even know until Springfield posted about it on their Instagram and I got all these messages flooding in.” Hopefully, Gould will be waking up to more messages congratulating them on the victory.

Gould is just as involved in their academics as they are in the social justice world. Gould has made the Dean’s list many times and is looking to do so again this semester. More importantly, Gould is excited about the classes they are taking and wants to see what they can get out of them.

“I’m in a queer history class right now which is really cool. I can bring that to my clubs and teammates,” Gould said.

Gould is also very intrigued to get familiarized with the new freshman on campus this year. 

“Goals this year would definitely be to get to know myself better and the community better because we have a lot of new freshmen this year. I think a lot of freshmen are in the GSA this year which is really cool.”

Gould’s main goal for the semester though is to have people be more active in their support for the LGBTQ community.

Photo: Lily Gould Instagram 

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