Víctor Gutiérrez, a water polo player from Madrid on the Spanish national team heading to the Summer Olympics in Rio, has come out publicly as gay on the LGBT website Shangay.
"I'm out of the closet in my environment," said Gutiérrez, according to a translation of the story. "My family knows I'm gay, my friends too. And I'm living in such a positive way with my sexuality that I felt a responsibility to share it with others."
Gutiérrez said he has never met anyone who judged him based on his sexual orientation. "It has always been based on my performance, and I want to share it," he said. "As a gay athlete, I feel the responsibility to discuss it"
He referenced the more than 70 homophobic attacks in Madrid so far this year, and said that homophobia is still a reality. "But in my experience, people have changed; as an athlete, everything I've lived is absolutely positive. "
Gutiérrez said his family has been totally supportive, and he came out to his mother when he was 19.
"I never sat down with the president of my club, the coach or teammates," he said. "In the end, it is my life and I do what I want." But living in close quarters with an elite team, it's hard to hide anything. Gutiérrez said he has always been open about his life, without being an advocate. He does not know any other openly gay elite water polo players and said it would be easier for gay athletes if a big name in Spanish soccer or basketball were to come out.
"I hope my coming out serves to break a taboo within the sport," he said. "You have to be judged not by your sexuality but by your sporting merit."
Bravo to Gutiérrez for coming out before the Olympics. He can be followed on Twitter.
Hat tip to reader Jeff for the tip.