Olympic swimmer Daniel Jervis comes out as gay: ‘I look in the mirror and like who I am’
Pro swimmer Daniel Jervis has come out as gay in the hopes he can be a role model for young LGBTQ+ people.
Having just competed at the World Championships in Budapest, the Welsh Olympian opened up about his struggle with his sexuality and discovering who he is.
“It took 24 years to be who I was, but now I’m happy,” Jervis told the BBC’s The LGBT Sport Podcast, in an episode released Wednesday (29 June).
“I look in the mirror and I like who I am.”
Daniel Jervis told host Jack Murley that his sexuality has always been “something in the back of my mind, bugging me”.
“I thought I was bisexual and had girlfriends that I loved – but it came to about three years ago where I knew I had to deal with this,” he said.
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“I said to her: ‘I think I’m gay,'” Jervis, now 26, told Murley. “I couldn’t even say: ‘I’m gay.’ It was still… I couldn’t say it. I was basically punching the words out.
“She was quite shocked but great, and it was exactly the reaction I wanted. I’ve had all good reactions, and the way I’ve described it is I’m not going to change as a person.”
Having competed at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year, Daniel Jervis knows what it’s like to perform under pressure – but this was a new kind he had never felt before. Though this hasn’t stopped him from being his true, authentic self.
The Olympian found it difficult to initially accept his feelings, but, at the age of 24, he felt he needed to tell those closest to him.
He eventually built up the courage to tell his best friend during a night in.
“I’m still the Dan you’ve always known. You just know something else about me now,” he said.
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He was inspired to come out publicly by Jake Daniels, the Blackpool FC player who came out as gay aged 17, as well as swimmer Michael Gunning, who he said has been a “fantastic help”.
Jervis added: “When I was younger in swimming, I wasn’t aware of any out swimmers so didn’t have anyone I could look to who was like me. I want to be that person for someone.”
As a devout Christian, he also wants to be an example for queer people of faith.
“I love God, and out of all the things in my life my faith is what I’m most proud of,” he said. “And there is this thing where people say you can’t be Christian and gay together, and I was sitting there knowing you can be because I am!”
Jervis is currently anticipating his third consecutive participation in the Commonwealth Games where he’ll look to add to the medals he won in 2014 and 2018.