Gus Kenworthy’s coming out story is so lovely… and involves a dog
Gus Kenworthy has shared his coming out story, and it’s incredibly beautiful.
The Olympic athlete told People that he knew he was gay from the age of five, but he “was afraid of being different”, so it became his “secret”.
As he grew older, he began it understand what his sexuality meant, but he wasn’t “ready to accept it at all”.
At 11, he came out to the first person ever – his dog Mack.
“He was my best friend,. I guess he wa the first person I told I was gay. I remember whispering it to him and being like don’t tell anyone. He didn’t,” Kenworthy quipped.
It wasn’t until Kenworthy reached the age of 22 that he decided he wanted to tell people that he was gay, but he was anxious about his career as a professional skier.
“I was so scared if I did the wrong thing or said the wrong thing to the wrong person found out I was gay that it’d all be taken away from me.
“The language everyone uses is really homophobic. Anything that’s bad, the judging, the weather, the course, is ‘gay’. If anyone compliments you, they follow it up with ‘no homo’,” he explained.
Following the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Kenworthy decided it was time to come out to his best friend, fellow skier Bobby Brown.
“When the games were over I came out to him and his girlfriend. They were like ‘we know, we were waiting for you to tell us’,” he said.
After finding acceptance from his best friend, Kenworthy worked up the confidence to begin telling other friends and family.
Recounting the moment he told his mum, the athlete said that he “immediately” began to cry as he told her that he is gay.
“She was like ‘I know’. I asked her why she didn’t ever say anything and she was like ‘because I really wanted you to tell me, I didn’t want to pressure you into telling me and I didn’t want to ask you if you were ready to talk about it’.”
As the now 26-year-old told more people he felt like a “massive weight lifted off his shoulders”.
He said: “It just made me feel so good, so real and I had never felt that.”
The skier decided to come out publicly because he wanted to help young LGBTQ+ people who were will in the closet.
In October 2015, he appeared on the front page of ESPN and his sexuality was no longer a secret.
“One of the most impactful things that happened that morning [when the ESPN announcement was released] was a skier, who had said some really horrible things to me in the past jokingly, called me and said “I’m so sorry for anything I said, I feel so bad that I might’ve made your life harder’.”
Now, Kenworthy is happily out and he wants wants to make sure he keeps being visible so he can give young LGBTQ+ peopl the inspiration that he didn’t have.
“I would have told that younger person not to be so afraid to let everyone else know I was gay. It’s been incredible.
“I think if I could’ve told my younger self to just wait till when you’re older you’re going to be out and proud and you’re gonna have a boyfriend and you’re going to be so excited to share yourself authentically with the world and it’s going to make a difference for other peo[ple and I think it would’ve given that young kid a lot of confidence moving forward,” he said.