Canadian Olympic luger, John Fennell, is the latest athlete to come out as gay. The 19-year old did an interview with the Calgary Herald, in which he called being closeted, "suffocating."
John Fennell wants the world to know he is gay.
No more secrets. No more changing pronouns in conversations about personal relationships. No more fretting over perceived cracks in the story.
“It’s suffocating,” Fennell says of life inside the proverbial closet, even in the year 2014. “You have to play this game of, ‘who knows?’ You can’t let off any vibes or secrets. You have to act super macho. You have to be hyper aware of your mannerisms and to not let off any vibes that could get detected. It’s very exhausting.
“It’s an all-consuming paranoia of who could find out through what means.”
So Fennell is going public in hopes of stepping out of the shadows and serving as a role model for those still suffering in silence.
Fennell joins only a handful of Sochi Olympic athletes who have come out. Bisexual speed skater Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands was the only out athlete to win medals at the Olympics. Other out athletes include Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff, Canadian speed skater Anastasia Bucsis, Dutch speed skater Sanne Van Kerkhof, and Slovenian cross-country skier Barbara Jezeršek.
“I was a little distraught over the lack of leadership going into Sochi,” he says of competing in country with laws forbidding “propaganda” of homosexuality to minors. “There were a few out girls, but to my knowledge there weren’t any out guys, and I know they’re there."