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Champion college athlete Maarten Hurkmans comes out in empowering post

Meet Maarten Hurkmans, the handsome Dutch rower who’s continuing in the Pride season tradition and just came out as bi on Instagram.

Though he hails from the Netherlands, the 22-year-old rower currently studies at the University of California, Berkeley as a student-athlete. He made the post as a way of showing that men do not compromise their masculinity by coming out as queer.

“Everyone that knows me will say that I’m very unapologetically me,” Hurkmans begins. “I have a clear presence, you can always read my mood straight of my face, and I can be the absolute worst morning person.”

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Are you your unapologetic self? ? ? Everyone that knows me will say that I’m very unapologetically me. I have a clear presence, you can always read my mood straight of my face, and I can be the absolute worst morning person. I am also bisexual, something that I consider to be an important part of who I am.? ? For many people, sexuality is not something to consider much. However, for many LGBTQ+ people, a lot of time and anxiety can go into discovering, accepting and reconciling themselves with their sexuality. I am very lucky to have been brought up by amazing parents in an open and accepting environment, and luckily, I have never experienced my sexuality as much of a burden. Not everyone shares my experience though. ? ? It can be hard to come out, especially in sports. Not many elite athletes identify as LGBTQ+ and there are few role models to look up to and show that it doesn’t matter and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I am 2.01m, 110kgs, proud of who I am, and I row at the elite level. To many, I do not fit the stereotype, but I do want to be an example to anyone that feels like they can’t be their true self.? ? Identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community does not make you less masculine, or able to compete and win. In the end, we all line up at the same starting line with the same anticipation as we endure those final minutes before the start. Equally tense and ready for the green light. ? ? #pride

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“I am also bisexual,” he admits, “something that I consider to be an important part of who I am. For many people, sexuality is not something to consider much. However, for many LGBTQ+ people, a lot of time and anxiety can go into discovering, accepting and reconciling themselves with their sexuality. I am very lucky to have been brought up by amazing parents in an open and accepting environment, and luckily, I have never experienced my sexuality as much of a burden. Not everyone shares my experience though.”

Related: ‘Walk the Moon’ singer Nicholas Petricca comes out in emotional video

“It can be hard to come out, especially in sports,” Hurkmans goes on. “Not many elite athletes identify as LGBTQ+ and there are few role models to look up to and show that it doesn’t matter and it’s nothing to be ashamed of…To many, I do not fit the stereotype, but I do want to be an example to anyone that feels like they can’t be their true self.”

Hurkmans then makes a plea for acceptance of queer men in athletics. “Identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community,” he writes, “does not make you less masculine, or able to compete and win. In the end, we all line up at the same starting line with the same anticipation as we endure those final minutes before the start. Equally tense and ready for the green light.”

He closes out his announcement with “#pride.” In other words, exactly what we feel right now.