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Villanova Swimmer Comes Out to Teammates In Emotional Speech: 'I Don't Want to be Ashamed Anymore'

Murtha

Ryan Murtha, a swimmer at Villanova University, is sharing the story of how he came out as gay to his teammates early last month in an article over at Outsports

Murtha, who spent years living with his secret, received a confidence boost after talking about the coming out processes with a guy he was secretly dating and other gay people. He decided to tell his fellow swimmers during a team meeting after the first practice of the new year - sharing his "coming out speech" that had been saved on his computer as a file called "Tax Returns 1994".

So this is tough for me and I apologize for taking so long to tell you guys this, but it took me forever to admit to myself and then it's been really hard to work up the courage to say it.

I'm gay. I've tried to bury this part of myself for a long time but slowly grew to accept it over the past year and a half. I want you guys to know that this isn't something that I chose. I was just born with it.

Anyway, I want you to know that I'm still the same person that I've been. I hope you guys don't see me any differently because of this. I don't think it should define me totally; it's just one of many parts that make up who I am.

But if for whatever reason you don't like me because of this, I guess I can't blame you because for a long time I hated myself for being gay, too. I made myself believe that living with this shame was worth not losing any of my friendships. But I don't want to be ashamed anymore. And I've kind of felt like I wouldn't be able to 100% accept myself and move on until I could be truthful with my friends. That's you guys. So if you're down to stick around and still be my friend, I can't even begin to say how grateful I would be.

If you have any questions or if you want to talk to me about it, feel free.

After a moment of silence, Murtha's teammates broke out into applause and rallied around him. They assured him they still loved him and that his declaration wouldn't change a thing.

A lifelong Boy Scout, Murtha realizes that his dream of becoming a Scout leader will sadly no longer be possible now that he's openly gay. In 2013, the organization chose to lift it's ban on gay Scouts but keep in place its prohibition on any gay person working with youth from a leadership position. 

Says Murtha:

Murtha1"It seems hypocritical not letting gay leaders into the Scouts. The Scout Law lays it out pretty clearly. 'A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.' The policy prohibiting gay people goes against a lot of those points...It sucks. I met my best friends in Boy Scouts. I have the best memories of it, and my brothers all went through it. It's been such a big part of my family and I learned so much of it. It shaped who I am today. I have a desire to give back to the next generation of Scouts, but I'm not allowed. It hurts. It feels like rejection."

Murtha adds that he has also come out to his Catholic parents, who are still struggling but have offered him love and support. 

Check out the full article over at Outsports here


National Champion Swimmer Tom Luchsinger Comes Out as Gay: 'I Have Come to Accept Who I Am' - VIDEO

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Tom Luchsinger, who in 2013 won the 200m butterfly at the World Aquatics Championship in Barcelona, has come out as gay in a deeply emotional letter published over at Outsports.

Writes Luchsinger:

For as long as I can remember I tried to repress my feelings through athletics. I tried to hide who I was through medals and accomplishments. I tried to pray away my sexuality. I tried to shower it off. Nothing ever worked. After years of stress, hate, and disgust toward myself, I have come to accept who I am. I am a proud gay man living my life the best way I know how, surrounded by people who love and support me!

LuchsingerFor years, my sexuality was the quality I was most ashamed of about myself. But now it seems that being gay is one of the characteristics I'm most proud of. I have accomplishments linked to my name that most heterosexual men will never have. I've overcome the fear of being rejected from the people I love the most.

My friendships have gotten stronger because of my self acceptance. My smile is a lot more genuine and surfaces much more frequently. I laugh a lot more. My body has time to recover from a workout because I'm actually an easy-going person. I have found qualities-both physical and emotional-that I like about myself - though that's still a work in progress. My number of good days far out number my bad days.

I'm still the same person I have always been, just a hell of a lot better at it.

Read Luchsinger's full letter here.

And check out his impressive 2013 championship win AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "National Champion Swimmer Tom Luchsinger Comes Out as Gay: 'I Have Come to Accept Who I Am' - VIDEO" »


Ian Thorpe Comes Out: 'I'm Not Straight' — VIDEO

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As anticipated, Australian Olympian swimmer Ian Thorpe told Michael Parkinson "I'm not straight" in an interview broadcast last night on Australia's 'ten' network.

Said Thorpe:

"I've thought about this for a long time. I'm not straight. Um, and this is only something that only very recently - we're talking in the last two weeks - I've felt comfortable telling the closest people around me. Exactly that."

Watch the interview clip and a news clip of Australian reaction, AFTER THE JUMP...

Thorpe added more to his statement, The Guardian reports:

"I'm comfortable saying I'm a gay man," Thorpe said. "And I don't want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay."

As Thorpe spoke – and his name trended on Twitter – the comments from the Australian public were overwhelmingly supportive. The gay community and the sporting world welcomed his decision and said it would help young gay people and gay athletes to feel supported.

"I was concerned about the reaction from my family, my friends," Thorpe said. "I'm pleased to say that in telling them, and especially my parents, they told me that they love me and they support me. And for young people out there, know that that's usually what the answer is."

Read the full interview transcript HERE.

Continue reading "Ian Thorpe Comes Out: 'I'm Not Straight' — VIDEO" »


British Distance Swimmer Protected From Shark By Pod of Dolphins - VIDEO

Swimmer

A two-meter shark closely followed British distance swimmer Adam Walker during his 8 hour, 36 minute swim through the Cook Strait separating New Zealand’s north and south islands this week.

Luckily, a pod of nearby swimming dolphins surrounded him, and the shark took off, says Walker. The dolphins even swam close enough to Walker for them to brush up against his body.

Said Walker on land: "I’d like to think they were protecting me and guiding me home.  This swim will stay with me forever."

Walker is planning to be the first British swimmer to swim seven oceans. He is doing it to raise money for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.  In the past Walker has also successfully swum across the English Channel, the Molokai Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Catalina Channel, and the Tsugaru Channel.

Watch video of the dolphin pod AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "British Distance Swimmer Protected From Shark By Pod of Dolphins - VIDEO" »


UVA Swimmers Embrace Their Gay Teammates: PHOTO

Uva

A new Tumblr created by University of Virginia students asking for photographs illustrating "diversity" produced this wonderful photo from the UVA swim team.

Writes Outsports:

Students at the University of Virginia wanted to show that it is more than a buzzword and to make the campus more inclusive. Along those lines, three students created an awesome Tumblr, "We Are All UVa," where students took photos holding placards talking about their experiences, good or bad.

Among them was Parker Camp, a varsity swimmer who told his coming out story on Outsports last month. He got four teammates to come up with this terrific photo.

Here's another from the site:

Hesthecutest


Shirtless Poolside Portrait: Jake Shears and Ed Droste

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Scissor Sister Jake Shears, Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste (and the dude in the back is director Chris Moukarbel) were captured sunning themselves over the weekend by the Instagram account of actress Zoe Lister Jones.

Ready for summer?

(via the awl)


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