GT (UK) - - COMMUNITY - tom­, @tom­bosworth

I’d de­layed telling my par­ents. I won­dered if it was a mis­take, or if I could change my­self. I looked for a long, long time.

I waited un­til I was 21, when I was in a happy re­la­tion­ship and I felt like I had a rea­son to tell my par­ents. So when I de­cided to tell the world, I did it for I wanted to have a worry-free sea­son go­ing into an Olympic year, and wanted to fo­cus on my train­ing. Ev­ery­one wants to know ev­ery de­tail about their coun­try’s Olympians, and so­cial me­dia is a great tool things out. I de­cided I wanted to come out on my own terms. Of course, I was only able to do that be­cause I’ve got so much sup­port from my fam­ily, my part­ner, the GB team and my train­ing team. Ev­ery­body was aware and didn’t care, and be­cause I had that strong set up, I was able to tell the world. I re­alise now that there’s a big re­spon­si­bil­ity that comes with do­ing some­thing like that, and I’m proud of that, and I want to hon­our that. I want to re­spect that re­spon­si­bil­ity. Com­ing out has done won­ders for my ca­reer – I’ve got such a big new fan base and so much sup­port. But I’ve al­ways said that I don’t want my sex­u­al­ity to my name into Google, that comes up. Yet, thank­fully af­ter the sea­son I’ve had – I’ve set four Bri­tish records this past year – my sport­ing achieve­ments are start­ing to take cen­tre stage.

the Olympics, I’ll be com­pet­ing along­side peo­ple from around the world, some from coun­tries who have a pretty poor record on LGBT+ rights. When I came out, I did worry that some of my fel­low ath­letes would take is­sue with it. I’ve got many in­ter­na­tional friends that I see around the world, but they were ab­so­lutely noth­ing, which shows how like-minded the ma­jor­ity of the world is. Just be­cause a coun­try has dif­fer­ent rules and laws to ours, it re­ally doesn’t speak for the na­tion it­self.

At this year’s Olympic Games, we’re go­ing to have more rep­re­sen­ta­tion than ever be­fore with openly LGBT+ ath­letes com­pet­ing – the num­ber might not be that high, but it’s im­por­tant the com­mu­nity is rep­re­sented dur­ing a world­wide event. Rio is such a di­verse city, their fes­ti­vals and pa­rades are so flam­boy­ant and colour­ful, so if the games can be the most wel­com­ing for LGBT+ peo­ple, then I re­ally hope it’s at Rio. We need more ath­letes that can live openly and show that ab­so­lutely noth­ing has changed be­cause of their sex­u­al­ity. That was one of the rea­son’s that drove me on to suc­ceed, to prove that my sex­u­al­ity does not track, that I can be re­ally good at what I do, and still live openly, and be my­self, and be gay.

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