It’s on U with Alan Gendreau
In this edition of the “It’s on U” blog series, we spoke with talented musician, Alan Gendreau, former football player for the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and all-time leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference history. Alan shares his motivation for coming out as an openly gay athlete and how music helps him find his voice even through the tough days.
From his record-breaking football career to his recent lifestyle jet setting around the world, Alan Gendreau has quite a story to tell. The New York-based football player traded in his cleats for wings, taking to the skies as a flight attendant with American Airlines. Throughout his life, he never wavered in expressing himself openly, whether that meant through his music or speaking honestly about himself even in the public eye.
There’s an artist in all of us.
Looking at Alan Gendreau in his sharp tailored American Airlines uniform, you might not see an artist. But growing up in Apopka, Florida, Alan developed a passion for music: “I was able to express myself through choir, through band, through musical theater,” says Alan.
“For me, expressing myself with my piano is one of those important things,” says Alan Gendreau, pictured in ZaanU headphones in matte black.
When he’s not in the skies, Alan Gendreau is busy sharing his music on his YouTube channel which has over 2,300 followers. “Music is one of those things... It’s a universal language. It can be love. It can be sad. It can be so many different things. For me, expressing myself with my piano is one of those important things.”
His background in music would help him find the courage to express himself and get through the tough days. “I still did choir in college... It doesn’t matter what is going on in my life. It can be good. It can be bad… Coming home from a really hard day and having this as a stress reliever is really one of the most important things for me. ” says Alan.
Out on the Football Field
After showing impressive athletic talent in both soccer and football, Alan put music on the backburner for a while to pursue a college career with Middle Tennessee 2008. For the next four years, he made headlines as the all-time leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference history with 295 points. He also owns the record for the second-longest field goal in conference history at 55 yards.
At the same time, Alan caught some attention for becoming one of the first publicly out gay players in NCAA Division I college football.
“The reason I told my story originally is because I wanted to help kids that were struggling. I knew it was a struggle for me. We’ve got teen suicide rates, and it’s unacceptable,” said Alan during his LGBT keynote speech. “If I can help one kid, that would be a battle won for me.”
Coming from a deeply religious family, Alan showed courage coming out at the age of 16. He continued breaking barriers by coming out publicly as an openly gay athlete. Alan Gendreau inspires us all to never feel afraid to express ourselves openly, whether it means behind the piano, on the football field, or staying true to who you are.