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Tokyo 2020 rower comes out as unapologetically bisexual in emotional post addressing how hard it is to be queer in sports

Josh Milton July 3, 2020
Maarten Hurkmans, 22, came out as bisexual in an Instagram post capping-off LGBT+ Pride Month. (Instagram)

Maarten Hurkmans, 22, came out as bisexual in an Instagram post capping-off LGBT+ Pride Month. (Instagram)

Olympics-bound Dutch rower Maarten Hurkmans came out as bi in an emotional Instagram post.

Hurkmans, 22, wrote in the spirited caption about the difficulties queer folk in sports face when coming out, capping off LGBT+ Pride Month by proudly coming out as a bi man.

“Are you your unapologetic self?” Hurkmans asked his 2,700 followers on Monday (June 29).⠀

View this post on Instagram

Are you your unapologetic self? ⠀ ⠀ Everyone that knows me will say that I’m very unapologetically me. I have a clear presence, you can always read my mood straight of my face, and I can be the absolute worst morning person. I am also bisexual, something that I consider to be an important part of who I am.⠀ ⠀ For many people, sexuality is not something to consider much. However, for many LGBTQ+ people, a lot of time and anxiety can go into discovering, accepting and reconciling themselves with their sexuality. I am very lucky to have been brought up by amazing parents in an open and accepting environment, and luckily, I have never experienced my sexuality as much of a burden. Not everyone shares my experience though. ⠀ ⠀ It can be hard to come out, especially in sports. Not many elite athletes identify as LGBTQ+ and there are few role models to look up to and show that it doesn’t matter and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I am 2.01m, 110kgs, proud of who I am, and I row at the elite level. To many, I do not fit the stereotype, but I do want to be an example to anyone that feels like they can’t be their true self.⠀ ⠀ Identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community does not make you less masculine, or able to compete and win. In the end, we all line up at the same starting line with the same anticipation as we endure those final minutes before the start. Equally tense and ready for the green light. ⠀ ⠀ #pride

A post shared by Maarten Hurkmans (@maartenhurkmans) on

“Everyone that knows me will say that I’m very unapologetically me. I have a clear presence, you can always read my mood straight of my face, and I can be the absolute worst morning person.

“I am also bisexual, something that I consider to be an important part of who I am.”

Maarten Hurkmans: ‘It can be hard to come out, especially in sports’

“For many people,” the University of California graduate wrote, “sexuality is not something to consider much.

“However, for many LGBTQ+ people, a lot of time and anxiety can go into discovering, accepting and reconciling themselves with their sexuality.

“I am very lucky to have been brought up by amazing parents in an open and accepting environment, and luckily, I have never experienced my sexuality as much of a burden. Not everyone shares my experience though.

Maarten Hurkmans, who won a silver medal at the 2019 World Rowing Championships, went onto outline the hurdles closeted queer athletes face: “It can be hard to come out, especially in sports.

“Not many elite athletes identify as LGBTQ+ and there are few role models to look up to and show that it doesn’t matter and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

“I am 2.01m, 110kgs, proud of who I am, and I row at the elite level. To many, I do not fit the stereotype, but I do want to be an example to anyone that feels like they can’t be their true self.

“Identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community does not make you less masculine, or able to compete and win. In the end, we all line up at the same starting line with the same anticipation as we endure those final minutes before the start. Equally tense and ready for the green light.”

Hurkmans was due to compete in Tokyo 2020, but the games were postponed until next year by organisers due to coronavirus pandemic.

It comes only weeks after English professional footballer Thomas Beattie publicly came out as gay in the hopes of paving the way for more players to come out, and in turn change the culture of homophobia that grounds the game.

More: bisexual, come out, Instagram, Maarten Hurkmans, Netherlands, rowing

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