While the Tokyo Olympics, which opens this weekend, will see a record number of LGBTQ+ athletes taking part, gay Olympian Tom Bosworth believes there are far more LGBTQ+ athletes who are worried to come out.
Bosworth, who is an Olympian race walker, is the only openly gay member of the British athletics team, but also only one of three openly LGBTQ+ people across the whole UK Olympic team. With 11,000 athletes taking part in the Olympics, but only 157 of them openly LGBTQ+, Bosworth added that the numbers “don’t add up”.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Bosworth shared, “I am aware of more athletes who now are living quite openly but there are still very few at the highest level representing their country. It still feels, not a taboo subject, but just hushed away from.”
He continued, “The more people that do come out and just live openly, it would make it so much easier for the more mainstream sports people, or everyday people who enjoy sport but are worried about being outed in their club team.
“I always say nowadays it’s all about being visible. If you are fortunate enough to be in a relationship with a supportive family, in a country or place where living openly is pretty safe, I really would recommend it because it will only benefit you and your mental health. You’ll probably perform better as well because you’re not worried about it.”
Tom Bosworth then spoke about the lack of openly gay male footballers in England’s FA top divisions. He explained, “I think it would need a bit of a snowball effect, in terms of a few start living openly at a similar time, and are supported by their clubs, the FA and hopefully their fans.
“So much prejudice still exists and you get idiots on social media, so for footballers that’s going to be very difficult to manage and it could be a difficult period of time.”
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