Olympic Athlete John Fennell Comes Out

john fennellAnother high-profile gay athlete has come out of the closet, and to answer your most pressing questions, yes, he’s attractive and no, he’s not American.

But he’s Canadian, which is similar to American except you can leave your door unlocked when you leave the house.

The sportsman in question is John Fennell, a luger who just turned 19. He hopes that by coming out he can raise awareness of LGBT issues in the mainstream sports community. He’s already been effective at raising awareness of luge in the Queerty community, since prior to this we were just sort of vaguely aware that it is like scary sledding.

“I’m an athlete. Realistically, I put on a spandex suit and slide down a mountain,” he says. Sounds like our idea of a good time! What’s this mountain’s name? Oh, wait, he meant that literally.

Fennell tried to hide who his is for a long time before chatting with out swimmer Mark Tewksbury, who came out in a very different climate: the ’90s. Tewksbury was fired from at least one gig for being “too openly gay,” good lord. But it’s 15 years later, and hopefully the climate around gay athletes has evolved far enough that everyone can look back on his treatment and agree it was wrong.

Still, Fennell will face challenges. He didn’t bring his phone or computer to Russia, for fear of capture by the Russian government. He’d been warned about the country’s civil rights atrocities and kept a low profile.

Then he came out to his family when he got home. And after that, to the media.

So, welcome out, John Fennell! Now get ready for a bunch of idiot American morning show hosts to tell you that you shouldn’t be allowed to kiss anyone.

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  • barkomatic

    This is good news. As sick as some are of famous people coming out, the more that happens the harder it is for right wing extremists to characterize gay people as freaks on the fringe of society that tear down society instead of contributing to it.

  • dannyboi2

    Good for him! we need good role models out there and he sure looks squeaky clean… I hope, I hope I hope ahh.

  • cflekken

    I think we need to move away from using the term “comes out”. We shouldn’t be hiding in the first place. The idea of “being in the closet” needs to go away.

  • Ihadtosayit

    “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
    Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” -Harvey Fierstein

  • barkomatic

    @cflekken: I agree, but we’re not there yet. People still get a lot of grief in many parts because they are gay.

  • sportyguy1983

    Good for him for coming out when he was ready, but to call him a high profile athlete is a HUGE stretch. Only the most fanatic of luge fans will know of a guy who finished in 27th place in this past Winter Olympics. Coming out makes high profile now (at least in the gay world).

  • Bryguyf69

    @dannyboi2: The squeaky wheel gets the lube… :)

  • dm10003

    Yay, eh?

    Now how about some hairy bearded ones that aren’t so traditionally pretty for us bearchasers?

  • cflekken

    @barkomatic: I agree that we’re not there yet. But part of that is because we refuse to set an arrival date. Our own community continues with this “label” so we need to get ourselves out of the mindset first before we can expect the same of others.

  • Ken

    When I leave the house, I leave the door open. Nothing bad happens, and I don’t even live in Canada. I think Americans are more paranoid than unsafe.

  • robirob


  • SteveDenver

    @barkomatic: People who whine about coming out stories are those who probably complain about a slice of pie. They don’t feel like they’ve done their job unless they lift their leg.

    I’m with you, coming out is a wonderful thing and it is changing attitudes around the world. Look at our own GOP, how many have changed their tunes, because their own children have come out? Rob Portman and Mark Kirk both reversed their anti-equal-marriage stances when their kids came out to them.

    My friend Quintin came out to his family at Thanksgiving several years ago. Just one secret: he’s not gay. He wanted to make them face their anti-gay attitudes in a very effective way. His girlfriend then, now his wife, came with him to show her support. He was honestly scared. His mom, dad and brothers had a range of reactions, and ultimately came around. Then he told them he wasn’t gay, but he was sick of their crap attitudes. They all love to tell the story and how it helped them grow.

  • Scott Johansen

    Coming out matters…and ANY LGBT who says otherwise is a privileged, ignorant mofo who needs to go sit in a corner and realize they aren’t qualified to tell others how they can live their lives.

    I applaud and SALUTE every gay person who comes out!

  • DickieJohnson

    @Ihadtosayit: That’s a truly Gr8 quotation, and philosophy, and I adore Harvey, but, Hmmmm, I’ll bet he never had a 9 to 5 job with a bunch of dumbass straight folks.

  • SizeQueen

    Come on out and join us at all of the Pride Festivals you can avail yourselves to and Celebrate Life!!!

  • cflekken

    @SteveDenver: And who exactly is “whining” about this? Not me. I’m only stating that we need to stop using the term “coming out” because it’s implying that we have to hide. Get it? Or should I spell it out further for you? We shouldn’t have to hide, ever. THAT’S the point. Maybe a different way of putting it should be adopted, like saying, “so and so just stated they are gay”.

  • Tackle

    @dannyboi2: Yes we need role models, but they don’t necessarily have to be sports people or the simi-famous. And definately not this kid. AT 19 he’s still wet behind the ears, and has a lot of living & learning to do. Not saying he has to 50, but give him a few more yrs before this talk about role model starts.
    This same talk about role model was done with Micheal Sam. When both Micheal and This kid will both benefit from role models themselves to help gain
    prospective about life as a gay man.

  • john sitges

    Role model might not be the right expression but he certainly helps with the visibility that gays still need.

  • stranded


    I agree. I’m more inspired/delighted by celebrities who don’t hide they’re gay but also don’t advertise themselves by “coming out.”

  • Billysees


    Good comment. Very good —

    ” …the harder it is for right wing extremists….. “

Comments are closed.