Rob Kearney Opens Up About Being the First Out Gay Strongman

Rob Kearney is an American professional strongman competitor, and he is also dubbed as the “World’s Strongest Gay.”


Kearney was only 17 years old when he was introduced to the sport, and he went professional in 2013 after winning the amateur national championship. Thereafter, he won the Giants Live North American Open in 2017, and also competed in his first World’s Strongest Man competition in the same year.

Not to mention, he has achieved all of that and more while being Strongman’s first and only out gay athlete. In a new interview with Men’s Health, Kearney opened up about coming out and what it’s like for him to be the first out gay Strongman athlete.

He began,

“Like most men, I lived a very heteronormative lifestyle up until 2014. I ended up coming out in October of 2014 after I had already turned professional in the sport. Looking back on it, I never really understood the weight of the moment—no pun intended.”


“I was coming out because I was in a relationship with my now husband, who had been out since he was 17 years old. At 22, I didn’t feel like it was fair for him to be in a relationship with somebody who was closeted. So I came out really just out of respect for our relationship, and then it quickly turned into much more,” the 32-year-old athlete explained.

He then admitted,

“The realization of me being the first and only openly gay professional Strongman in the world hit after. There was definitely a lot of anxiety and fear around that because I didn’t know what that would mean.”

“Fortunately, the Strongman community is amazing,” Kearney added.


As for what it’s like for him to be known as the first out gay Strongman athlete, he shared:

“At first, I was looking at it from a very one-dimensional [perspective]. I was looking at myself as a gay Strongman athlete. I was okay with that because of the lack of representation of LGBTQ+ athletes in all sports (not just in Strongman). Knowing how important representation really is, I was leaning into it.”

“As my career [progressed], though, and I was getting more eyes on me, I realized it takes more than physical strength to be strong. Being able to be vulnerable in my relationship with my husband on social media shows a different kind of strength. I was showing more than just me lifting, and letting people get to know me in a different way,” Kearney further expressed.


1 thought on “Rob Kearney Opens Up About Being the First Out Gay Strongman”

  1. What a refreshing read! I am glad to see the country is taking positive turns like this. My boyfriend did the same thing last week! #gay


Leave a Comment