The Inspirational Friendship That Helped This Young Gay Kid Be Out And Proud

I got to watch him become more and more confident in his own skin over time," former lacrosse player Andrew Goldstein said.

Twelve-year-old lacrosse player Braeden Lange struggled when he was first coming out as gay at such a young age. His father, although accepting, didn't quite know the right things to say. But after forming a relationship with Andrew Goldstein, who came out historically in 2003 while playing lacrosse at Dartmouth, things started to turn around.  

Scott Lange, Braeden's father, explained to HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps on Thursday that he fumbled for the right words to offer his son when he first came out.

"What I had said to Braeden wasn't necessarily hurtful, but I positioned it to him as, 'Hey, I'm learning too, but we're always going to have your back,'" Lange said. "So it took me a few days to kind of wrap my head around it, but never was the love for my son in question."

Goldstein explained to HuffPost Live that when the Langes first reached out to him after seeing an ESPN SportsCenter piece on him from years prior, it was "a very low time during Braeden’s journey." But, the whole family started to develop a friendship with the former Dartmouth athlete. 

"We were face-timing and sending videos back and forth," Goldstein said. "And at first, [Braeden] was very shy, and then I got to watch him become more and more confident in his own skin over time."

In honor of Braeden, Goldstein and other "lacrosse all stars" including Nick Welton, decided to organize the "Courage Game" -- a day of lacrosse games for adults and children "all in the name of anti-bullying and respect for all," Goldstein said. It was "really an unbelievable moment," he added.

The outpouring of support was tantamount for Braeden, who had been in a "dark spot," Lange said. 

"Andrew, really, along with a few others, Nick Welton obviously, saved my son's life," Lange said, later adding, "Braeden slowly, actually not even really all that slowly, became himself again."

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