You’re not interested in water polo? Wait until you see Víctor Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez, a 25-year-old water polo player from Spain, will be going for the gold in Rio De Janiero this summer, but before he does, he wanted to come clean about his sexuality.
Although the athlete is out in his personal life, he felt it was important to open up about on a larger platform by publically coming out.
He told Spanish-language magazine Shangay “I’m out of the closet in my environment. My family knows I’m gay, my friends, too. And I’m living in such a positive way with my sexuality that I felt a responsibility to share it with others.”
Gutiérrez is just one of many male athletes who have recently opened up about their sexual preference — in prior years Jason Collins, Michael Sam, and Robbie Rogers have all courageously come out publically.
For many athletes, the fear of being ostracized keeps them in the closet, but with social acceptance of the LGBT community at an all-time high, many athletes have bravely challenged stereotypical expectations.
The water polo star said, “Although I’m coming out, I respect those who choose not to. I have never met anyone who has judged me as an athlete for my sexuality. It has always been based on my performance. As a gay athlete, I feel the responsibility to come out because it is very important. There have been more than 70 homophobic attacks in Madrid so far this year; it is a reality that we live. And there are almost no athletes who say they are gay. But in my experience, people have changed; as an athlete, everything I have experienced is absolutely positive.”
We are happy to hear Gutiérrez has been lucky enough to have such a positive experience. We just hope that as more athletes announce their sexuality we see a shift in how they’re defined. They shouldn’t be seen as a “gay athlete,” they should be regarded as an athlete who happens to be gay.