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Gus Kenworthy: Coming Out Has Been 'The Highlight' Of My Year

Authenticity has paid off for this Olympian.

When it comes to living authentically, Gus Kenworthy has no regrets. 

The Olympic freeskier came out as gay in the Nov. 9, 2015, issue of ESPN magazine. Now that nearly a year has passed since he opened up about his sexuality publicly, Kenworthy is looking back with gratitude.

On Sunday, the 25-year-old posted a snapshot of the ESPN cover on his Instagram account. The photo was accompanied by a lengthy caption in which Kenworthy explained his feelings before and after the magazine hit newsstands in October 2015. 

I am gay. Those three words are how I began the caption on this same photo one-year-ago, today. I remember waking up that day, with the most overwhelming sense of emotions. I was excited for a future where I no longer had to mask myself with heteronormative posturing. But then, of course, I felt apprehensive because I didn't know how people were going to react. I'd already told my immediate family and a few close friends and they all offered nothing but love and support and I decided that even if the rest of the world abandoned me, their support would be enough. However when the day finally came, I was terrified of losing friends, fans and sponsors. What I didn't anticipate though, was all that I was about to gain. I've gained so much over the past year and I am so tremendously thankful for all of it. I've started to love myself, a big step for someone who spent their adolescence in self-contempt. I've made lifelong friends, fallen in love and felt truer and happier than I ever imagined. I've witnessed myself swell with pride while holding my guy's hand walking down the street; no longer dictated by fear to walk with my hands in my pockets acting like the person I loved was merely a friend, an acquaintance. I got to ski completely unencumbered and ended up having my best competitive season ever because of it. And while competing I got to, finally, acknowledge my boyfriend standing at the bottom of the half-pipe cheering me on; something I regrettably failed to do in my previous 5-year-long closeted relationship. Ultimately, for the first time in my life, I got to feel free - something everybody should feel every day! I can't thank you all enough for the support you've given me over the last year, it truly means the world to me. I get messages every day from guys saying my story has helped them come to terms with themselves or given them the confidence to tell their friends or family that they're gay. And that, I have to say, has been the highlight of my past year. Of course there will always be nay-sayers but if I've helped even one person feel better about themselves then this process, for me, has all been worth it. I love you guys. ❤️💛💚💙💜

A photo posted by gus kenworthy (@guskenworthy) on

“I was excited for a future where I no longer had to mask myself with heteronormative posturing. But then, of course, I felt apprehensive because I didn’t know how people were going to react,” he recalled. “What I didn’t anticipate though, was all that I was about to gain.”

The athlete went on to acknowledge his fans, noting, “I get messages every day from guys saying my story has helped them come to terms with themselves or given them the confidence to tell their friends or family that they’re gay. And that, I have to say, has been the highlight of my past year.”

It’s safe to say things have worked out pretty well for Kenworthy, who is dating “Gayby” actor Matthew Wilkas and has become an outspoken LGBT rights advocate over the past year. In July, he also received an ESPY Award nomination for Best Male Action Sports Athlete. 

Happy anniversary, Gus! Authenticity certainly has its benefits. 

HuffPost

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