Later in February, figure skater Adam Rippon will become the first-ever openly gay man to represent America in the Winter Olympics.
As Attitude reports, there was a time in Rippon’s life when he believed he’d never be able to come out of the closet.
The 28-year-old figure skater (a former US National Champion) tells the magazine that the stereotype of gay male figure skaters made it that much more difficult for him to accept himself.
“I think it’s such a cliché to be a gay figure starter,” he says, “and everyone makes fun of you for being gay as soon as you start skating so you badly want that not to be true.”
“And when you finally get the realization, when you get a little bit older that, “Oh shit, I’m gay,” you’re like, “but I don’t want to be’.
I don’t think I found a world that welcomed me. Along with that stereotype there’s sometimes the pushback, the ‘Not another one, we don’t want them’. That’s the way some people feel.”
He eventually came out to friends and immediate family at 22; to the world at large at 25.
“I remember being young and thinking to myself ‘I will never tell anyone that I’m gay’,” he says.
“It’s so sad to repeat this but I remember verbatim saying to myself, ‘Nobody will ever know, I will never tell anyone, I have to live with this for the rest of my life’.”