(Photo Credits: U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Three-time Olympic gymnastics medalist Danell Leyva came out as a member of the LGBT community on National Coming Out Day 2020 (October 11) through his Twitter account.
In his coming out post, Leyva said he has known for a long time he wasn’t straight. He added that though he is still trying to figure out whether he is bisexual or pansexual, one thing is clear to him: that he is not, as of now at least, attracted to cis men.
A thread for #NationalComingOutDay— Danell Johan Leyva (@DanellJLeyva) October 11, 2020
For a long time I’ve known that I wasn’t straight. But because of certain very personal reasons, I always rejected that side of me. Earlier this year I finally understood that I’m bi/pan (still trying to figure that one out) but…
One of the main reasons why I’ve never come out publicly is because throughout my life, for whatever reason, other people’s perception of my own sexuality have always been imposed onto me and it has always made me reject it even more. It made me uncomfortable. Not because…— Danell Johan Leyva (@DanellJLeyva) October 11, 2020
A reminder to check the way we say certain things to people. Because sometimes our hearts and intentions may be in the right place, but we never truly know what they’re dealing with.— Danell Johan Leyva (@DanellJLeyva) October 11, 2020
I love you all
Leyva sat down with the Olympic Channel to talk about his coming out, he told them that he was supposed to do it on June for Pride Month.
He, however, reconsidered in light of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests sweeping the United States following the death of George Floyd while in police custody. “I was like, ‘No, I’m not really that important,” Leyva said. “And so I decided to just kind of forget about it, and I did forget about it.”
Nevertheless, a new opportunity struck when he was asked by his friend and podcast producer to post a message of support to the LGBTQ community during the National Coming Out Day. That’s when he composed his coming out message which he posted on Twitter (shown above).
“I sent her the thread before I actually sent it out – her and two other of my really close friends. Almost immediately, they called me. One of them was like damn near in tears,” Leyva told the Olympic Channel. “And she’s like, ‘What? Are you kidding? This is amazing. I’m so proud of you. Are you ready for this?'”
Leyva said that by coming out and by talking about his sexuality, he hopes he will be able to be of help to others.
“I hope to one day live in a world where your sexuality is as irrelevant as whether or not you’re right or left handed. You know, it’s such a non-issue. It literally means nothing that if you’re just like, ‘Oh, you’re left handed? That’s cool. Oh, you’re bi? That’s cool.’ Like, it’s really nothing,” Leyva said to the Olympic Channel. “The only way we can achieve that is by making it normal, by doing things like what I did by coming out publicly, by talking about it publicly, by just helping people understand.”
Leyva added, “Everybody’s different, you know? And at the same time, we’re not. We’re all very similar in a way, and it’s beautiful because the sense of community that we can acquire if we just sit and talk with each other is amazing.”
Danell Leyva is a 29-year-old Cuban-American gymnast who represented the United States to the Olympics. He bagged the 2012 Olympic individual all-around bronze medal in London as well as the 2016 Olympic parallel bars and horizontal bar silver medals in Brazil.
Read the story in full here.