When I was 14 years old, I already knew I was more attracted to girls than to boys. I started boxing at the age of 19 at my boxing club in Lichtervelde. I’ve always been quite open about it and I’ve never experienced any problems.
When I was still searching for myself, I received some negative remarks about my appearance.
“You look like a man,” they said.
That hurts. It is not because you are muscular that you look like a man. You can perfectly be muscular and feminine at the same time. But I never felt that I had to hide my sexual orientation in order to feel accepted.
When I started training in France, on the other hand, I kept it hidden at first, as French people are slightly more conservative. Moreover, my trainer is a 62-year-old Muslim, and our club counts many Muslim members. Therefore, I acted rather reserved at first to see which way the wind was blowing.
When I decided to train permanently in France, which meant I had to work with my trainer on a daily basis, I finally decided to tell him. I just could not be someone else. But he has no problem with it at all and just wants me to do whatever makes me happy.
I found it quite striking, because I expected him to show a completely opposite reaction.
After I was out in the club, I felt I started to perform better, because I could be myself. The other boxers with whom I train together, did not react weird either. But I do notice that they have questions about it. They accept it, but they do not fully understand how it is possible to feel attracted to the same sex.
I think it’s important to be yourself and to do whatever you feel like doing. There’s enough misery in every other area, so do not make it hard on yourself. If you’re attracted to a person of the same sex, go for it. You cannot fight it. You would become unhappy if you do, and love is too important and too beautiful to be anything but happy.