British swimmer Dan Jervis, 26, has come out as gay ahead of competing in the Commonwealth Games! The swimmer who hails from Wales, won 1500m freestyle silver and bronze at the 2014 and 2018 Games. He also competed for Team GB in the Tokyo Olympics last year, and placed fifth. Talking on the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast, Jervis said he didn’t tell anyone else that he thought he might be gay until he was 24 years old:
“It took me 24 years to be who I am. I was adjusting to everything else, just trying to fit in – until I thought: ‘Just be you.’ You know, we’re just before the Commonwealth Games and there are going to be kids and adults watching who will know that I’m like them and that I’m proud of who I am.”
He continued, “For so long, I hated who I was – and you see it all the time, people who are dying over this. They hate themselves so much that they’re ending their lives. So if I can just be that someone people can look at and say, ‘yeah, they’re like me,’ then that’s good.”
He also talked about being a devout Christian, and said his faith had meant it wasn’t easy to embrace his sexuality at first. When speaking about telling a friend when he was 24, he said:
“I said to her: ‘I think I’m gay.’ I couldn’t even say: ‘I’m gay.’ I was basically punching the words out. She was quite shocked but great, and it was exactly the reaction I wanted. I’ve had all good reactions, and the way I’ve described it is I’m not going to change as a person.
Everyone’s journey is different, but I think I’ve always known. It was something in the back of my mind, bugging me. I thought I was bisexual and had girlfriends that I loved – but it came to about three years ago where I knew I had to deal with this. It wasn’t affecting my swimming, but me as a human being. It sounds quite drastic, but I wasn’t enjoying my life. Yeah, I was smiling, but there was something missing to make me properly happy. I’m still the Dan you’ve always known. You just know something else about me now.”
Congrats on living your best life, Dan and welcome to the club! Now go get the gays some shiny new medals 😉