2020 is one of those years that simply will never be forgotten. Many things marked this year, both positive and negative. One of the most positive things this year will be remembered for were the stories of the athletes that decided to come out and finally tell the world who they really are.
On the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the French ice dancing champion, decided to finally reveal his “secret” in hope that he will encourage others to start living their lives fearlessly. According to him, it is not something that should be spoken about publicly, because as he said “straight people don’t come out”, but he still did it in order to show others that there is nothing wrong or bad about it, and that everyone should be respected for who they are as people.
When the Swiss wrestler Orlik came out about his sexual orientation last year, he made a history by becoming nation’s first openly gay athlete. According to him, this experience made him freer, as he was pushing out who he really was for many years.
Even though rugby is considered as brutal sport, still it was not the scariest thing Levi Davis has to do in his life. Actually, for him it was more difficult to reveal he is bisexual to his teammates. Luckily, they all accepted his confession quite well, so the only thing he wants now is to help others feel good about who they are without feeling the pressure to hide anything from the public, because the only thing that matters is their mental health and their happiness.
After waiting for many years, the Chilean basketball player Arcos decided that he is ready to live “proud and free” last year when he came out of the closet in June last year. In the emotional letter he wrote he revealed the difficulties he had with accepting himself and stop feeling ashamed of the person he was. Arcos believes that there is place for everyone in sport, but that there are still so many issues that need to be resolved in order to move forward.
Tanner Pendleton, Kennedi Deck, Chad Unger, Jill Perkins and Jake Kuzyk
These five snowboarders came out all together last year. While Tanner was the first one among his peers to talk openly about it, the others did not wait for long to speak up as well. Even though it was not at all easy for all of them, still maybe this was the most challenging for Unger, who was afraid he would be completely rejected by the others for his sexual orientation, because he was already feeling as an outsider due to him being deaf.
After years and years trying to fit into the society and denying who he was, the Argentinian pro basketball player Sebastian Vega put an end to his biggest nightmare last year when he decided his happiness and health were more important than what the other people think about him. Now his goal is to encourage others to talk freely about themselves by showing them that the truth will just change their life for the better.
Ireland’s national champion made a decision last year to share his private love life with the public so he can inspire youngsters and give them hope to be more confident about themselves. According to him, his story was more about the others rather than about himself.
The Olympic gymnast Danell Leyva is just one of the many other people being raised with the belief that being anything other than straight is bad or unacceptable. Luckily he did not let other people stay on the way of his happiness and life, so he made a decision to use his story to inspire others who are maybe dealing with the same or similar issues, which he hopes will also made things better for future generations.
Sullivan is the man who changed hockey history by going public about being bisexual. For him, the day he came out of the closet was the best day of his life, but not only did he feel relived but also got full support by his teammates and fans, which only made him even more proud to wear his jersey.
For many years Thormeyer wasn’t able to live his life as he would want to by hiding his sexuality from his teammates, which affected both his career and life. Eventually he decided he wanted his life back in his hands, so that is what he did. “Life is much better when you fully embrace you for who you are” were the words of the Canadian swimmer when he realized there is nothing better than being honest about who you are and not being afraid to speak up about it and admit it to the others.
Dennis Del Valle
The Puerto Rican native pro volleyball player who plays in Switzerland also decided last year to speak freely about his sexuality and let the world know that the gay athletes can also be part of the elite sport levels. He considers that his story could inspire others to never give up on being athletes by fearing they would be rejected. And it was after he came out that he realized that actually it was not at all about him, but about the others that face the same issues as him.