For Olympic diver, Tom Daley, coming out as gay was not easy, rather he says his life was ‘ruled by fear’ following the announcement.
The 24-year-old made public his sexuality in 2013 on YouTube, while also announcing he was in a relationship with Dustin Lance Black.
With the pair now married and having recently welcomed their baby son, Daley has opened up about how terrified he was about telling people.
“My biggest concern when I came out was, ‘what would the parents of young divers think’?” he admitted to Shortlist.
“Would they discourage their kids from diving because a high-profile athlete like me was gay? I was so worried.”
He even revealed that it stopped him competing.
“I skipped a competition in Russia in 2014,” he said. “It was in the wake of my coming out.”
“I thought it was too risky and unsafe. Then, when everyone got back, I really kicked myself for not going. I’d let other people rule by fear, and it weighed really heavily on me.”
“It can be scary going to countries that aren’t accepting of LGBTQ+ people,” he said, speaking of Russia that still has anti-gay laws in place prohibiting homosexuality.
“I’ve competed in the Middle East, Russia, and parts of the Commonwealth, where being gay is punishable. I feel extremely lucky being able to compete as I am without worrying about ramifications.”
As for his husband, Dustin, Tom says he’s actually prohibited from entering the country of Russia.
“My husband is blacklisted from Russia,’ he shared. “He did a big protest there with a massive rainbow flag, and after he screened his film Milk he started getting threats and attacks. So he’s not allowed back.”
The Olympian believes it’s wrong to define a person solely on their sexuality alone.
“The queer aspect of our community is all about refusing to define yourself and embrace the broad spectrum of sexuality,” he said.
“There’s so much more to LGBTQ people than who they’re having sex with, and seeing people explore their own [sexuality] and refusing labels is really exciting.”