Gay stock car announcer gains national exposure, breaks stereotypes
Troy Germain has literally spent most of his life around the track.
The Lancaster, N.H., native began to go to stock car races with his parents when he was five. A small track in nearby Groveton hired him and a local radio disk jockey in 1991 to announce their weekly races; but Germain took over after managers fired the DJ. The American Canadian Tour hired him to announce their races in 2001-the same year he came out to his now ex-wife.
"As I’ve come out and become more comfortable with who I am, I’ve become less afraid and more comfortable being myself around the officials," Germain told EDGE in a recent interview.
Nearly two decades later, Germain’s life continues to revolve around cars and the sport he loves. He currently works at a car dealership in St. Johnsbury, Vt., but he spends almost every weekend from April through October at tracks across New England, New York and Ontario and Québec in Canada.
"In most cases, I feel like I’m just walking up to and chatting with a friend of mine to see what’s new, to see the latest developments in their lives, in their careers," Germain said.
Germain has also begun to announce races on the national level. He announced the ACT’s inaugural race at the New Hampshire International Speedway last September in front of 40,000 people. Germain also announced a nationally broadcast NASCAR race at the Texas Motor Speedway in 2007.
"I’m looking to expand what I do into more national exposure," he said.
Germain came out to the ACT in 2003. He conceded it remains tough to be the only openly gay man on the circuit-he said there are others about whom he knows, but they remain closeted. Germain said an e-mail Darla Hartt, vice president and general manager of the ACT, gave him the strength to come out to his colleagues. It read be yourself; be who you are and don’t be afraid; just be.
Germain’s dates and even boyfriends have become fixtures at ACT races, banquets and other events. Hartt told EDGE from her Waterbury, Vt., office Germain’s experience on the tour is far different from that of a closeted gay man with whom she once worked. She categorized her interactions with her former boss as an "egg shell kind of experience," because he was afraid of how his colleagues would react to his sexual orientation if they found out about it.
"I’m really proud and happy for Troy to be comfortable with whom he is; a Red Sox fan, a gay man or a race car announcer," she said.
Hartt added she has never heard of anyone on the tour reacting negatively to Germain.