A water polo star on Spain’s national team has come out as gay ahead of the summer Olympics in Rio.
Víctor Gutiérrez, 25, came out publicly as gay in an interview with Shangay magazine.
“My family knows I’m gay, my friends too,” he tells the LGBTI magazine. “And I’m living in such a positive way with my sexuality that I felt a responsibility to share it with others.”
Gutiérrez also highlighted the “70 homophobic attacks in Madrid so far this year” as part of his motivation for coming out. “It is a reality that we live in. And there are almost no athletes who are out of the closet. But in my experience, people have changed. As an athlete, my experience has been absolutely positive.”
Este es el resultado de una decisión valiente y sopesada. Me costó decidirme pero estoy orgulloso de poner mi granito de arena en la visibilidad gay en el deporte. Gracias a mi familia que siempre me ha apoyado, a mis amigos incondicionales que han estado a mi lado, al equipo de Shangay por el cuidadísimo reportaje, y a todos aquellos que de una manera u otra me han hecho ser la persona que soy. Y sobretodo a Javier Caceres Perez por ser la cabeza pensante y darme las fuerzas que necesitaba para dar este paso al frente. Este soy yo. Abrazos y besos para todos!
He says he first came out to his mother when he was 19, who was very supportive.
“I hope my coming out serves to break a taboo within the sport,” he said. “You have to be judged not by your sexuality but by your sporting merit.”
Gutiérrez says he doesn’t know of any other openly LGBT elite water polo players, but he hopes his coming out will make it easier for other big names in Spanish soccer or basketball to come out.