Luke Strong, the 27-year-old five-time British champion trampoline gymnast, has come out as bisexual and said he “feels sorry” for homophobic bullies.
As well as becoming a British champion on five separate occasions, Strong is a world and European medallist, and won the “first British senior medal at a European level” for more than two decades.
In an interview with the BBC Sounds LGBT Sport Podcast, he explained that while this is the first time he has spoken publicly about his sexuality, his close friends and family have known for a while.
He said: “I’ve never hidden anything and I’m really open about the fact that I’m attracted to both sexes, male and female, but I’ve never been in a relationship with either of them so I don’t know.”
Strong also discussed his experience of bullying at school when he began trampolining at the age of 11.
He said: “I think like most people in the LGBT+ community, growing up is always a little bit difficult.
“Especially wearing a leotard, doing gymnastics, doing the splits – you get the typical ‘you’re a fairy’ and the gay jokes and ‘gymnastics is a girls’ sport’. I had that growing up in school and then especially in high school it got a lot worse.
“There was a period of time in Year 8 and 9 where the bullying was kind of bad. I wouldn’t really talk about trampolining because I was embarrassed.”
Finishing off a positive week with some new combinations pic.twitter.com/fD5uZZLaUt
— Luke Strong (@Luke_strong2) March 9, 2019
Strong said the bullying improved once his classmates saw him trampolining and began to “respect” the sport more.
He added: “On social media, you get your trolls every now and again, with homophobic abuse on comments or personal messages sometimes.
“But I honestly don’t even think about that ever. It doesn’t bother me: I feel sorry for people like that who are close-minded and still think it’s offensive to be called gay — because it’s not.”
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