My coming out story, like most LGBTQ people, will always be a fundamental part of my life. It is also the beginning of my journey of self discovery and made me the man I am today.
I was an average teenage boy growing up in a coastal town in Australia. My life revolved around sports, notably rugby league. Every Saturday was spent on a sporting field, and the week was spent at training and in preparation for those Saturdays. It was my everything and my biggest passion. Rarely did I have a conversation on any other topic.
My friends would talk about girls, but that wasn’t a topic of interest for me. I just wanted to talk about sport. But my coming out changed that dramatically. I no longer felt welcome on my rugby league team because of things my teammates said. These things cemented my own belief that a gay man couldn’t play rugby, or any sport for that matter. I eventually stop playing all together.
This dramatically decreased my friend circle and increased my free time. With these changes and wanting to continue being active, I eventually begin training by myself. For me, this included both weight training and running. Running everyday was my chance to get away. I’d run along the beach, listening to the ocean and, in those moments, nothing else mattered. My evening hours were spent researching training and fitness websites on my slow, 56k internet.
Fitness had become my ultimate escape from the realities and struggles of coming out and being true to myself. As I moved out of family’s home to Sydney, this passion stayed with me, and eventually assisted me in my return to rugby. Finally, both of my passions came together.
Getting back into rugby grew my confidence in myself as a gay men. I no longer believed that my sexuality meant I had no place on the rugby field. I’d finally found comfort in my own skin.
This newfound confidence led me to leave the comforts and familiarity of Sydney and to further my rugby career in Canada. Through hard work and a lot of luck, I was eventually given the opportunity to try out for the Australian bobsleigh team. Given my years of rugby and continued training, I was fortunate enough to make the team.
Again, I’d proven my teenage self wrong about his doubt of whether a gay man was capable of being an athlete. Again, my life became immersed in training. Looking back, I can realize how years lead up to that exact moment. The struggles had all been worth it to be able to represent my country.
Now, living in London, I’m about to embark on the next stage of my life in Fitness and focus my time on training people. I’m going to ensure my passion is passed on to others, and I hope its brings the same joys to them as it did to me. The difference now is I don’t shy away from my sexuality, nor is fitness and training something I do to escape the realities of my life as a gay man.
Instead, I do it because it has proven to be not only something I love, but something I can use to inspire others to be active. Also, I hope I can inspire young gay teens who are also struggling with their sexuality and their place on the sporting field. Through my own experiences I want to show them that they continue with their passions and actually excel on and off the pitch.
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