Olympic champion Kerron Clement says a pop icon inspired the start of his coming to terms with being gay.
In 2019, four-time Olympic track champion Kerron Clement came out as gay. The Trinidadian-American athlete shared that he was “tired of loving in the dark.”
“I have been through what a lot of people have been through which is being afraid of being who you are,” he said. “I struggled with my sexuality for 17 years. Over time, as you get older, you care less. Now it’s time to just be yourself and be free. That’s what I’ve become, free.”
And now, in a feature article with Today, 35-year-old Clement says Mariah Carey was a big reason for how he got to that moment.
“I didn’t know of any other gay people growing up,” he explained. “I didn’t know of any gay people in my community. I didn’t know of any one on TV. But I knew that I felt different inside and that those feelings weren’t the same as other boys, so I was afraid and kept it to myself.”
After moving to La Porte, Texas at the age of 13, Kerron Clement discovered his talent in track. But his steady success in the sport didn’t soothe the issues he had with his sexuality. Instead, music did. In his loneliness, Clement turned to Mariah Carey’s songs for support.
“I listened to a lot of Mariah Carey,” the 35-year-old said. “I related a lot to the lyrics on her ‘Butterfly’ album, particularly a song called ‘Outside’ that’s about not fitting in. I would listen to it nonstop. I know for her she was singing about her biracial identity, but I related it to how I felt about my sexuality.”
This made my day 😭❤️🌈 https://t.co/rZIhAFZiBu
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) June 1, 2021
And now, it seems that Clement’s words of love and support have reached the eyes and ears of the musician who used to support him. After the Today article was published, a Mariah Carey fan page tweeted out a quote from the feature. Carey saw that tweet and then retweeted it with her own quote.
“This made my day,” she wrote before adding a crying emoji, a heart emoji, and a rainbow emoji.
A kind internet user then shared the tweet with Clement and he posted his response to his Instagram Stories.
“One day I will meet you @mariahcarey,” he wrote [sic]. “She said it made her day…. Really!!!! You made my whole year lol.”
— THE MUSIC EXPERT (@the_musicexpert) June 2, 2021
Nowadays, Kerron Clement is the first male track and field athlete to come out while still active in the sport. And he still is active to this day. The star is currently preparing for the Olympic trials in June. Good luck, Kerron!