Olympian Rebecca Adlington’s ex-husband Harry Needs reflects on biphobia and his enlightening coming out journey
Harry Needs, a former competitive swimmer and ex-husband of Olympian Rebecca Adlington, has described his experiences of biphobia while reflecting on his coming out journey.
Needs married Olympic swimmer Adlington in 2014, and although they split in 2016, they co-parent their five-year-old daughter Summer together and remain good friends.
When asked about his sexuality, Needs replied: “This is a question I’ve avoided everyday of my life so far, mainly because I strongly dislike labels despite not knowing a solution to avoid them.
“But if I had to answer I would [tell] people that I’ve always been bisexual.”
Now, Needs has delved into his experiences of biphobia, and how it made coming out a complicated journey.
He told the BBC: “People almost don’t believe that bisexual men and women out there exist… I’ve been accused of using bisexuality as a gateway or a stepping block to becoming gay.”
He added that he has often encountered comments like “bisexual people are greedy” and has been told that he must “choose men or women”.
Needs said he always knew he was attracted to men and women, but biphobia and a lack of visible bisexual role models when he was young meant that he didn’t have a relationship with a man until he was in his 20s.
He said: “During my teenage years, I felt like in society you could only identify as being straight or gay.
“I didn’t feel like there were many role models out there for bisexual people.
“Girls used to show interest and that’s why I got involved in those relationships. But maybe if it was openly acceptable in society a little bit more, maybe that would have been different. I think it’s a lack of education.”
Harry Needs had his first same-sex relationship after splitting with Rebecca Adlington.
After his marriage ended with Rebecca Adlington, Harry Needs began his first-ever same-sex relationship.
He said: “I put myself out there as bisexual and I went on some dates with both women and men.
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“I then found myself in a relationship with another man… I just don’t really care about anyone else’s opinion of me anymore.
“For me, love is love. You should be with whoever makes you happy.”
Needs said that when he came out, “everyone’s reaction, especially Becky’s, was really, really positive”.
He added: “I absolutely loved my marriage to Becky, it was amazing.
“I can’t honestly say that we had many arguments, and I guess that kind of proves why we’re such good friends and we have such a good relationship now co-parenting our daughter Summer.”