Former NFL Player to Share Story of Self-Acceptance and Encouraging Other LGBTQ Athletes

Des Moines, IA—On April 18, Capital City Pride (CCP) and Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines will host former NFL player, Ryan O’Callaghan as part of CCP’s 2019 Speaker Series. O’Callaghan played right tackle in the NFL for six seasons with the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. He came out as gay in 2017 and has continued to share his story about struggles with self-acceptance and coming out.

“The Capital City Pride Speaker Series welcomes LGBTQ and ally speakers to the Des Moines metro to share their experiences, challenges, and the path to success as a member of the LGBTQ community,” said Dan Jansen, President, Capital City Pride. “We are thrilled to have Ryan O’Callaghan as our guest speaker. Ryan’s story was the moving force for initiating the Capital City Pride Speaker Series and reminds us all that the path to success is not always clear, not always easy, and not without struggle. He is a true inspiration and role model.”

“The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines is proud to support Capital City Pride’s Speaker Series. As a strong advocate for diversity in the community and at our organization, it’s important that we make time to understand and appreciate Ryan, his story and the countless other stories of diversity champions who have an important message to share,” said Mike Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines. “By engaging in these discussions we’re able to foster a greater awareness of others, ourselves and foster a more inclusive community.”

As one of only a few openly gay former NFL players, O’Callaghan was drafted to the Patriots in 2006. Before that, he played for the University of California Golden Bears, where he helped the team win two bowl games and was named the 2005 Morris Trophy winner as the Pac-10’s best offensive lineman. After his football career had ended in 2011, Ryan founded The Ryan O’Callaghan Foundation, soon to be called LacesOUT. His foundation is designed to provide scholarships and support for out LGBTQ athletes.

The 2019 Speaker Series will be held at the Des Moines Art Center at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18.