Cyclist Graeme Obree: “Gay Athletes Should Stay Closeted And Ashamed, Like I Was”

I don’t think being gay and an active sportsman is a good thing. While I was competing and in a changing room environment there was no way I would come out. You’d always be worrying if other people were thinking, ‘Is he checking me out?’ There are SPL [Scottish Premier League] footballers who are gay, I know that for a fact. But if I was in their position there is no way I would come out. It would be too awkward in the dressing room. You need to be retired first. Even now I wouldn’t do coaching because it’s still an awkward situation. Sure, I got a flood of letters from people supporting me. But now people have moved on and don’t give a monkey’s [ass]. They’d rather talk about cycling, which is great.

—Scottish cycling champion Graeme Obree, encouraging other gay athletes to stay closeted. Obree, who is retired, only came out in January 2011.

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  • CMObrero

    I think fear is understandable.
    I had the balls to come out to my family at an early age, even though they are Christian gay-haters. But I think it’s important to understand that some other people could fear more, or resist less fear, so… I’m not saying it’s OK to encourage it, just wanna tell you demonizing people that succumb to their fear is not fair.

  • Danny

    He’s right str8 guy would think you are looking at their dicks.And let’s face it we would be.

  • Sam Wheat

    He’s got a point. You can’t force someone into being cool with us, so there’s always going to be awkwardness with some guys. No stopping it.

  • Dallas David

    Well . . . if athletes are sufficiently concerned, then they can have the promotors provide dressing rooms to accomodate their delicate sensibilities. What would it take — seperate shower stalls with a seperate dressing nook?
    Someone ought to be able to make a booth similar to those plastic Porta-Potties. Line ’em up outside somewhere, or in a garage, hook up a hot water line and drain pipe, and hose ’em all down after the festivities. Or put ’em on a flatbed trailer and just pull ’em around with the racers.

    I don’t see why it has to be so difficult . . . it’s not rocket science, y’know . . .

  • Thomas Maguire

    Sez the man in the rainbow spandex.

  • CMObrero

    @Dallas David You’re right.
    Separate [insert here whatever] is segregation, and that does not make the point.
    So, what should gay active sportsmen do? They could gradually come out when they think they should, without external pressure from gay bigots.

  • Dallas David

    Actually, I kinda like the idea of seperate plastic shower & dressing stalls, manufactured like porta-potties. It would be an inexpensive way to eliminate all the crap about someone afraid that someone might see their “pee-pees” . . .

    Hmmm . . .

  • Tony

    The same argument was put forth and dismissed when it involved women sports reporters in locker rooms.

  • Jakey

    I know exactly what he means, but that’s the whole point of coming out: if people like that are so determined to make out gay athletes a problem, you need to stop letting them make it your problem and keep it on them. It’s not easy now, but it’s easier than it used to be thanks to people who were brave enough to already come out. Doing it yourself will make it easier yet for others, and so it goes. I understand why he’d chicken out and even encourage others to do the same, but it’s sad to hear and I wish he hadn’t.

  • Ess

    “He’s right str8 guy would think you are looking at their dicks.And let’s face it we would be.”

    Oh those poor str8s. They just simply can’t handle being looked at by other guys, yet have no problem gawking at chicks and making them uncomfortable.

    Bitch puh-lease.

  • Little Kiwi

    “You need to be a coward because it’s easier for me if everyone else makes the same weak self-serving choices that I made because the last thing I want is for other people to have success and joy in a way that I was never man enough to”

    kindly fuck off.


  • aki

    There is a difference between gawking at chicks and having them with you in your locker room while both of you are naked . To be honest , that argument I can understand

  • wtf

    what a lame a$$ pu$$y

  • randy

    Oh please. STRAIGHT guys check out each other’s dicks all the time in the locker room. And straight guys are more than happy to show off their dicks to other guys, be they gay or straight. It’s what guys do, and anyone who doesn’t know this doesn’t know men.

    Obree is full of crap. Sure, perhaps the first week there would be awkwardness, but after that everyone has seen everyone’s dick and men who are secure in their masculinity wouldn’t give a crap. Those who aren’t? It’s their problem.

  • Sebastian

    @randy I agree and will also add that those who do give a crap maybe they should question there own sexuality!

    I was on a swim team and everyone knew I was gay. Trust me we showered, partyed and when we had swimm meets in other cities, even slept in the same bed. Sports are sports…gay or hetero men do it for the sport. The only guy that was not cool with it is the guy that came out 4 years later! My teammates used to tease me in the shower with stuff like….Do you like mine or his and we would laugh! When a man is comfortable in his own skin, he don’t give a f$ck what you do in the bedroom! Ande YES I did look at the other guys dicks….and so did they! Half of them are still my best buds too this day! So fuck Graem Obree!

  • southpaugh

    Nope, I’m not buying the argument. The only reason there’s an issue at all is because people are taught to be afriad of the situation. The fearful won’t change their minds until they gain experience proving the fear is false and over nothing. Staying in the closet while in the height of sports involvement robs the fearful of the opportunity to learn their parents, teachers, colleagues, priests/vicars/pastors/rabbis/shamens, coaches lied to them. They only enjoy that power because we let them have it. Prove they’re wrong and the succeeding generations don’t have to put up with the BS any longer. Its similar to hospital administrators forcing interns to suffer forty-eight or seventy-two hour shifts because they had to endure it in their time, without regard to the damage and malpractice threat to real patients resulting from fatigue and sleep deprivation. It’s all arbitrary and gratuitous and oh-so-tedious.

    BTW, for the record, straight guys check out each others equipment in the locker room and the showers all the time. Anybody who denies it is lying. Full stop.

  • Jakey

    @aki: Eh, no. Two men of differing orientations in a locker room is a very different dynamic than a straight man and a woman in a locker room. The woman would be nervous and she would be right to be, but if the man in the first situation were as nervous as she, it would be with a lot less justification.

  • milhouse

    I need to take a long hot shower to wash off the self-loathing in these comments and article. A professional athlete who happens to be gay is not interested in “checking out” straight guys in the locker room but in playing his sport to his best ability. The idea that changing rooms are the exclusive domain of straight men is absurd, and has never been the case in all of history.

  • DavyJones

    @Danny: That makes no sense… Gay athletes already exists and if they were going to ‘gawk at their teammates in the shower’ they already would be… This idea that we should stay in the closet to make things ‘less awkward’ is equally absurd; there are some real-rational reasons some gays choose to remain in the closet, but not wanting to make other people a little ‘uncomfortable’ is a very stupid reason; especially since he’s not just talking about avoiding discussion your sexuality. He is implying you should actively deny who you are.

  • mike128

    I doubt that getting checked out in the shower is a big concern for most athletes. They have fantastic bodies and a glance – if it does happen – isn’t going to be the end of the world. Plus, I dont think that glances are coming just from gay men. Straight men check each other out and compare all the time.

  • Little Kiwi

    Milhouse, what are you talking about? Im openly gay, have been since i was a teen, and i dont’ check out guys in the locker room.

    do these wimps not realize that being Out doesn’t mean “You Fuck Every Guy You See With Your Eyes?”

    You can be Out and not a sex-mad perv, you know. You can be openly gay in a lockerroom with straight guys and have it not be an issue.

    know how i addressed it in high school? “Dudes, i’m gay. i’m into other gay guys. don’t worry”


  • Jean

    I’d be afraid of getting stomped for transgressions real or imagined. But that’s just me, I imagine that the guys who choose to come out know their teammates well enough to know that won’t happen to them.

  • Little Kiwi

    I’m more afraid that if “we” dont’ make it our business, as grownass adults, to Come Out and Be Out (Visibly and Vocally) then future generations will continue to worry about being bullied or beaten up

    i’m an adult. i’ll take the burden so that one day others won’t have to.

  • Jim Hlavac

    In 10th Grade, I went to the gym department head, a Mr. Gerardi — and I said “I can’t handle the locker room situation. I want to be excused from gym.” He inquired — “are you having fights?” I said “No!” “Are you deformed?” he asked. “NO!” I said. “Then what?” he asked, so innocently. “I get too excited in the locker room” was my response – and he said, “Oh, OH! Oh, well, just check in with the library or come late to class or early — whichever is best for you.” And that was in the mid-1970s — he got the message.

    And so did Mike H. and Alan R. whom I pulverized in outraged anger in front of everyone – for the “f… fag” stuff — and let me tell you, a fag bashing heteros is quite a thing to behold. And High School was not so bad after I had made it clear I was in a “don’t tread on me” attitude. “Man bit dog” did have resonance, indeed.

    Hetero men are strange; they think they’ll turn gay in a fortnight if one of us even looks at them — that’s how unsure of themselves they are – and we are so solid in our being we can smile the whole way through.

  • the crustybastard

    If a white guy was worried that a negro might despoil him by glancing at his pure Aryan manhood with those colored boy eyes…

    What the fuck is wrong with people?

  • Jay Sanchez

    Any gay man in the closet is NO man at all. F*cking pussy.

  • Sempron

    Any gay man who says he encourages other gay men to stay closeted because it makes heteros uncomfortable is a straight worshipping, spineless, self hating FAG. Instead of our precious gay youth commiting suicide I really wouldn’t mind some of the self haters getting it over with. Seriously, the world would be a better place without people having to deal with all your built up hate over being gay.


    Why are some posters on here so foolishly gullible? Do you honestly believe every single comment posted in the comments area on this site is by supportive pro gay folks? You don’t believe there are trolls who visit and even camp out on this site and spew ignorance?

    Important note worth making, queerty shows up on google search engine often. That search engine is accessed by many a heterosexuals, some of whom hate gays and will come on here and troll away. You’ve got to be a fool to believe that all the comments here are by GLBT individuals.

    Heads up: if it stinks, it’s a troll. Read a comment and wonder “how could a gay person write that?” chances are, they didn’t!

    Even the most internalized- self hating- mo is more well adjusted to log on a website and slander the character of an entire community. One they are a part of.

  • Max

    Me thinks the first few posts about gay men being pervs was written by the same bigoted troll with too much time on his hands.

    The fact of the matter is, straight men take the cake on being forward and perv like. Having 3 beautiful sisters, I know first hand the lack of boundary straight men have when it comesto commenting, looking and even uncalled for touching toward woman. They assume because they tend to be so sexual (perverted?) that gays will be just as unrefined, but the reality is, gay men know their boundaries and respect it far more so than straight men. This is nothing more than heterosexual entitlement. Straight men using the excuse of discomfort to segregate and discriminate against gays all because they feel entitled due to being born straight. Don’t feed into their precious little egos. Fight for your rights.

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  • Arkano18

    Let me get this straight: Coming out is STILL a personal choice, right?

    Cuz if that’s the case, I don’t know what’s the big deal of not coming out ’till you’re retired.

    I mean, if that’s what you want to, go for it.

  • Bill

    @Arkano18: Having to be “in” means denying a part of who you are or constantly monitoring your actions, words and being to make sure no one knows you are who you really are. That’s a frightening existence. No one is denying a person’s RIGHT to stay closeted, lie, and play an act….we’re just stating our opinion on how sad that is, and how sorry we feel for said individuals. We have that right.

  • Steve

    Yeah, it’s the gay guy that makes the locker room activities awkward.

    Mr. Obree is in no position to give career or personal advice like this. Every LGBT athlete goes through their own personal journey of acceptance. Every person has their own comfort level and they have unique relationships with their different teammates. Coming out is something that is best dealt with on a case by case basis, and not every sports team would make a big deal out of a gay player like Obree’s team supposedly did.

  • Little Kiwi

    I always roll my eyes when men think they’re being “independent minded” and say “You can’t force me to Come Out, it’s my personal business and my choice.”

    Oh shut up, WIMPS. It’s not your own personal choice, and there’s no such thing as anyone “forcing you to Come Out” as the reality is that you’re already so weak that you’re letting others force you to STAY IN.

    If you’re a grown-ass adult man and you’re not Out, you’re officially an excuse-giving coward.

  • Disgusted Gay American

    Ohhhhh cause Bicycling is sooo hetero???? HUH????

  • Mark

    I don’t buy it for a minute. I was on an amateur cycling team for years. My team mates knew I was gay, they knew my partner, and when we went to races I shared beds with my straight team mates and NOTHING happened. I’m not saying I didn’t look when we were changing, but we were a team and we depended on one another and we all respected each other. And like any MATURE man, I was not going to threaten the friendships I had made by making them uncomfortable, and they weren’t going to make me uncomfortable about being who I was to them. I think it is much better to be honest.

  • chrism

    Obviously this clown has taken a fall of his bike without his helmet. And does he HONESTLY believe that nobody ever thought he was gay?

Comments are closed.