27 year-old British trampoline gymnast, Luke Strong, has carved out quite the reputation for himself in the sport. He has become a British champion on five separate occasions, as well as being a European and world medalist, even winning the “first British senior medal at a European level” in over 20 years.
Recently the sports star appeared on the BBC Sounds LGBT Sport Podcast to discuss his career, during which he publicly came out as bisexual. Although Strong was already out to his close family and friends, this was the first time he had spoken about his sexuality publicly.
Speaking about his sexuality, Strong said that although he has never been in a relationship he is “attracted to both sexes, male and female”. He went on to discuss how he was bullied as a young teen and was picked on by his peers for pursuing his passion in gymnastics. “Wearing a leotard, doing gymnastics, doing the splits, you get the typical ‘you’re a fairy’ and the gay jokes,” he explained.
He discussed how he wouldn’t talk about trampolining with his friends or classmates for fear of being harassed.
At 15 years-old Luke Strong was at the top of his game when he suffered a horrific leg injury breaking both his tibia and fibula, leaving doctors fighting to save the limb. Strong recounted an incident where he was left an anonymous message on an online trampoline forum telling him that his “career was over” and that something like this was bound to happen because he was “always a little bit weak anyway”. Not one to shy away in the face of adversity, Luke used this senseless hate to fuel his recovery and come back even stronger.
‘If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan never the goal.’ ✨ pic.twitter.com/OFguIhwoYv
— Luke Strong 🤸🏽♂️ (@Luke_strong2) November 14, 2018
As time went on, the bullying began to improve as Strong’s classmates saw how good he was and began to “respect” the sport more. However, the sports star still has to deal with online trolls who leave homophobic comments and messages on his social media.
Luke shared that this kind of abuse no longer bothers him; “I honestly don’t even think about that ever. It doesn’t bother me: I feel sorry for people like that who are close-minded and still think it’s offensive to be called gay — because it’s not.”
© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.