Kelly Holmes comes out as gay: “For me, I had to do this now” | Kelly Holmes

Gay rights activists welcome Kelly Holmes’ decision to come out at the age of 52, questioning the number of older people who are afraid to be open about sexuality after growing up in an era of homosexuality. Did.

The Olympic double medalist lifted her sexuality-related painful 34-year public silence on Sunday, finally coming out after a year of depression, anxiety, and even suicide, “excitement. And explodes, “he said, keeping her secret from everything but close family and friends.

Holmes, who realized she was a lesbian when she kissed a fellow female soldier in the army in 1988, told Sunday Mirror: The risk if you were caught was that you were arrested, court-martialed, thrown out, and sometimes imprisoned. I’ve wanted to be in the army since I was 14, but I couldn’t tell them because I was dying to stay there. But it was really hard because I was afraid to consume my life. “

She explained that she was worried that she would go out after winning gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics at 800 and 1500 meters.

“The reason I didn’t want it to come out was because I didn’t really know the people in sports … they were gay,” she said. “The military ban was only lifted for four years. [before] And when I said something, I never asked anyone if there was any retaliation. I was still absolutely petrified.

“For me, I had to do this now,” she told Sunday Mirror. “That was my decision. I’m nervous about saying it. I feel excited and exploding. Sometimes I cry with peace of mind. The moment this comes out, I’m essentially Get rid of that fear. “

The National Bureau of Statistics figures released last month found that far fewer people in the Holmes generation admit to being homosexual than young adults. By 2020, only 2% of people aged 50-64 were gay, lesbian, or bisexual, while 4.5% of people aged 25-34 were.

Holmes said in 1988, when she first noticed that she was gay, Britain was caught in an AIDS panic and blamed the gay people. Schools were banned from “promoting homosexuality” under Section 28 rules in England and Wales from 1988 to 2003 and in Scotland until 2000. Gay men in the military could be dismissed until 2000, and some were court-martialed.

“Kelly Holmes is just the tip of the iceberg,” said gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, adding that “there were some other huge British sport starts that didn’t come out.”

“They often grew up in an era of toxic homosexuality, and even if Britain is more liberal than it is today, they have been hurt by that experience throughout their lives,” he said.

Holmes said: Throughout his life, I was convinced that even if I admitted to being gay in the army, I still had problems. “

Holmes told Sunday Mirror that he believed that the barracks were searched by the gendarmerie at the age of 23 to find out if any of the soldiers were lesbians.

In 2003 she cut herself with scissors before the World Athletics Championships in France. She recalled: I didn’t want to be here anymore. “

“I sincerely hope that this is an awakening call for those engaged in prejudice and exclusion today,” said Robbie de Santos, a spokesman for the campaign charity Stonewall. It’s great that Mrs. Holmes feels she can share her. The truth with the world. “

“This isn’t just about culture war,” De Santos said. “This is about the long-term impact on people.”

“We expect more people to live behind homosexuality, biphobia, and transphobia for decades. Many feel that their friends and family will judge them,” he said. .. “If you feel like you’re lying to someone close to you and you’re worried that you might signal that you don’t trust the people around you, it’s going to be a big deal.”

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