Closet Door Bustdown

Swiss wrestler Curdin Orlik comes out, becomes nation’s first out-gay athlete

Curdin Orlik. Via YouTube

Meet Curdin Orlik, the “swing” wrestling champ who just became Switzerland’s first openly gay athlete.

OutSports reports that Orlik, 27, revealed to the Swiss publication The Magazine that Orlik told reporters “I’d rather be free than fearful.” He elaborated: “I am like that. I can’t help it. That’s how I was born.”

Swing wrestling, though very popular in Switzerland, remains virtually unknown in the rest of the world. Its origins come from folk wrestling, where wrestlers compete in a circle of sawdust. Champion athletes in the sport enjoy celebrity and product endorsements.

Related: You can now go to jail for being homophobic or transphobic in Switzerland

For that reason, Orlik felt a need to stay in the closet. “I heard things on the school building square [like] ‘you gay pig,’ ‘you faggot,’” he recalls. “Or in soccer, ‘such a gay pass!’ Even when swinging [wrestling]. Sure, nobody really meant that, but if you’re like that yourself, you think, ‘Shit, that’s not a good thing.’ I thought: I don’t want to be gay.” He then adds, “But it’s me. Now it’s out.”

Orlik had tried finding relationships with men while staying in the closet, but had little success. Desperate, he found a girlfriend whom he later married. The couple have a 2 year old son together. Orlik’s coming out also happens to coincide with their separation.

“For far too long I have pushed out who I really am,” Orlik laments. “I am not someone who kisses in front of people, but I want to lie down with a man and be able to touch him. I always knew that I was gay, for sure since I was 12.”

Since the article posted this weekend, Orlik has received overwhelming encouragement and support on social media. He thanked his supporters on Facebook, saying, “Wow, I am overwhelmed by the large number of positive reactions that you have sent me through a variety of channels. With your wonderful feedback, I’m now starting a new, open and free period of life.”

Welcome to the family, Curdin.