Talking identity and sexuality with Florida’s newest diving star.
Rising star of the diving world, Aidan Faminoff spoke openly about his sexuality at the age of 19. A role model in the making, we join him at his home in Florida to talk homosexuality in sport, cheeky Instagram comments and why he decided to share his “coming out” story.
It was last October, in celebration of National Coming Out Day, that diver Aidan Faminoff decided to speak openly about his sexuality. A lot has changed since then; he’s solidified his name as one of the world’s most promising diving newcomers, curated a cute AF insta page of selfies and has worked to ensure he promotes equality at every opportunity. Most recently, he shared the details of his “coming out story” in the hope that people would “connect” with the experience of his openness.
As he begins his rapid rise in the world of diving — and as a teen heartbreaker — we spent the day with Aidan to learn more about life as an out sports-star.
How long have you been diving and what’s your bi est achievment so
far? I have been diving for fourteen years, since I was five years old. My biest achievement in terms of diving has been winning a few national titles and representing my home country of Canada at international meets. Also, being able to continue my diving career while receiving an education in America.
What do you want to achieve within diving? Diving has given me the opportunity to come to America to participate in the sport at a collegiate level and receive an education. I hope to continue to learn new things and ultimately to become the best diver I can be. Do you think that there is a stigma around homosexuality in sport? If so, why? I can only speak for myself, but I think it depends on your comfort level with yourself and your team. I was lucky enough to be blessed with such an amazing and accepting teammates. But, in some cases that is not always the outcome depending on the sport and the individual. I do not see it as a stigma to be an openly gay athlete, but each individual is different. It also could depend on what sport you are in, some sports have more accepting cultures than others. What do you think needs to be done for more sportspeople to openly
speak about their sexuality? First off, I think they need to be in a comfortable and welcoming environment. Also, I think to be an openly gay athlete, society has to change. If society is not supporting “non-normative” relationships, then why would anyone want to come out? I was ready to come out to my family, friends and teammates once I felt there was no more need to hide who I truly was. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone and I think it comes down to more positive and welcoming society. Do you think that more out sportspeople would have greater positive impact on the gay community? What would the positives be? Yes, but coming out is so different for each individual. This might encourage others to come out, especially athletes. But, if more sports people decided to come out then, that could create a huge impact not only on the sport community but the gay community. You recently shared your experiences of coming out, what made you decide to do this? I shared my story in the hopes that people would be able to connect to my coming out experience. I personally know the strules that can coincide with this process so showing others how positive the outcome can be is very important to me. I hope my story inspires individuals to embrace who they are and become comfortable in their own skin.
How have people responded to you being open about your sexuality? Since coming out, my experience has been nothing but positive. I have endless support from my family and friends. Since my coming out story got published, I have received numerous people expressing how proud they are and thanking me on social media. I did not realise this would be such a big deal. I was just hoping to have an impact on (at least) just one person.
What message would you give to anyone stru ling with their sexuality? Coming out is a big deal, but the most important thing is accepting yourself for who you truly are. Also, talking to someone is a way to release any built up fear or anxiety. I struled with this for years and never accepted myself until half way through my senior year of high school. I finally accepted myself and told one of my closest friends. This was the first stepping stone to feeling that it is okay to be gay. You’re quickly amassing a gay fan following, how are you handling the attention? It is such a cool experience that people want to reach out to me and follow my life. Since gaining a lot of attention on social media, I am still the same person as I was before. I don’t feel the need to change anything. With all this attention my goal is to continue being my crazy, weird self! If I can influence or inspire others along the way, then I have done my job. I read some of your Instagram comments, and they get quite explicit/ crude – what’s your response to this? People have their right to speak their mind and post whatever they want. Just how I have the right to post whatever I want, regardless of the comments. Those comments will not change or influence me on social media. You’re still quite young yourself, but do you consider yourself to be a role
model? Yes I am young, but I would consider myself a role model. It doesn’t matter what age, sport, gender you are, anyone can be a role model. I have received a lot of positive feedback, on social media about how they relate to my story and that I have inspired them. I shared my story publicly to hopefully influence and help others. That was my main goal.
Tell us about some of your role-models growing up. Growing up I didn’t look up to people for who they were but more so of what they accomplished. To me, it didn’t matter if they were gay or straight, what mattered most was who they were as a person and what they did for their community around them. One of my biest inspirations is Meaghan Benfeito. I grew up diving beside her at competitions in Canada. Meghan took one day at a time and didn’t let others affect her goals and future ambitions. I took this into my own hands and when it came to coming out, I thought that mentality was very powerful. Also, I got to know her on a personal level, to this day I can call her one of my closest friends.
What does the future hold for you? There’s no way of knowing what the future holds for me because that is something I cannot control. However, I know that if I dedicate a lot of time and effort into things I want to succeed at, there is a greater chance I will achieve my goals. So it’s not knowing what the future holds, it’s knowing how to control the controllable in life in order to increase the likelihood of a bright future.