'I am a proud gay man': US.swim champ Tom Luchsinger battles demons and comes out
US swimming champion Tom Luchsinger has revealed how he battled years of self-loathing and hate as a closeted man and how his life has improved drastically since he came out.
The US National champion whose signature event is butterfly came out publicly on December 15 in a heartwarming and eloquent column he wrote for Outsports. Luchsinger candidly explains the pressures he felt as a high profile sporting star who felt being perceived as a heterosexual male was of paramount importance to his image. He spoke of mounting pressure, particularly on social media to conform to a particular image.
"Whenever I posted anything on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, I would read it over 10, 15, 20 times to make sure no one could infer anything about my sexuality."
"Whenever I was interviewed I would watch the online clips over and over again to make sure I seemed masculine. I seemed fully confident in front of the media, coaches, parents and teammates but completely inadequate, worthless and insecure behind closed doors."
The 23-year-old says he used swimming as a way to curtail emotions related to his sexuality, but is now much happier having accepted himself.
"For as long as I can remember I tried to repress my feelings through athletics. I tried to hide who I was through medals and accomplishments. I tried to pray away my sexuality. I tried to shower it off. Nothing ever worked. After years of stress, hate, and disgust toward myself, I have come to accept who I am. I am a proud gay man living my life the best way I know how, surrounded by people who love and support me!"
To read Tom's column visit Outsports.