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For some athletes, need to stay hidden

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It's easy sometimes, when living in the generally gay-tolerant West to remember that for many gays and lesbians, being discovered could literally put their lives at risk.

At the Opening Ceremonies, I spied a shirtless player for the Mexican soccer team with a flawless body. Seeing a great photo-op, I raised my camera and got ready to shoot. He spied my press photo jacket, waved me off and quickly turned away. I then saw him happily pose for other athletes with their cameras, so I then got back into position and he waved me off again. I then asked him why he did not want his picture taken and he stammered that he didn't like being photographed. I did not push it but knew that wasn't the case.

The real reason was made clear by this item in the Sun of London:

Many of the athletes have used fake names in the past to avoid being persecuted when they return home. Mexico's gay football team — whose identities have been kept secret — said it was a "unique opportunity" to be surrounded by fellow gays and lesbians.

Many of the Mexican players happily posed for photos, but I felt most for the one who needed to stay hidden even when surrounded by thousands just like himself.