Prior to competing at his third Commonwealth Games, British swimmer Daniel Jervis came out as gay.
He opened up about his sexuality saying, “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.”
During his interview with BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast, the 26-year-old swimmer further stated, “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.”
Jervis was 24 when he first came out to someone. “At that point, I’d never said the words out loud to myself. 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.”
The Olympic swimmer also opened up about his realization and relationships. “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,” he concluded.
Jervis had his Olympic debut last year in Tokyo, wherein he finished fifth. On the 28th of July, the Commonwealth Games will begin in Birmingham, and he will be competing for Wales.