Four-time Olympic medalist in swimming for Australia, Daniel Kowalski came out of the closet today in a column in Australian paper The Age:
“Despite the dark, fearful and lonely times, being able to write this fills me with a sense of freedom, pride and relief. There truly is a genuine sense that everything will be OK. I wrestled for a long, long time wondering whether being gay made me a bad person, but I can no longer fight who I am and that, simply put, is just me.
Being a gay man with a foot half in and out of the closet is tough; the games it plays with your mind – and more importantly, your heart – are hard to put into words but I am going to try my best. I finally accepted my sexuality at the end of 2006 following a huge anxiety attack at work. After what were literally years of torment, denial and very, very dark times, I couldn’t live a lie to myself any more. You often read that when people came out they had felt depressed or had suicidal tendencies. I, like them, experienced all of the extremes, but mostly it was the loneliness that was the hardest part of being gay – and still is. The number of times I have sat on the couch or lain in bed bawling my eyes out, scared and fearful of the future, are too many to mention.