Thursday, July 18, 2024

U.S. track star Trey Cunningham comes out as gay

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American track star Trey Cunningham, who competed in last month’s U.S. Olympic Trials, has come out publicly as gay.

In an interview with The New York Times, Cunningham said that coming out to his family in private five years ago was the “scariest thing I’ve ever done.”

Now, he is coming out to the rest of the world. His reason for coming out publicly, he told the Times, came from a track training technique he uses. 

“We say our goals out loud,” he said. “If there’s something we want to achieve, we say it. Putting something in words makes it real.”

Cunningham, 25, who ran for Florida State University, said he didn’t “explore the idea” of being gay until college, attributing the slow exploration of his sexuality to having grown up in a conservative and rural part of Alabama. The hurdler called his hometown of Winfield “the sort of place where you did not want to be the gay kid at school.”

In a separate interview with Us Weekly, Cunningham said he eventually realized that “people just don’t care.” When asked if he thought coming out publicly will change anything, he said, “I’m just Trey, and apparently it’s a special thing that I like to kiss guys.”

While Cunningham said he feels lucky to be surrounded by people who were unfazed by his coming out, he noted that may not be the case for other male athletes who have not felt as comfortable.  

“There are lots of people who are in this weird space,” he told the Times. “They’re not out. But it is kind of understood.”

Cunningham was a silver medalist in the 110 meter hurdles at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, and he advanced to the Olympic Trials last month, though he missed out on a Team USA spot for the Paris Olympics. As a world-class athlete whose career could take him to places  where homosexuality is criminalized, Cunningham told the Times that his public coming out would mean that he would have to consult his management before traveling to certain countries.

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