So many stories concerning the treatment of gay people are negative. Day after day, we hear about homophobia directed towards us from individuals, religious organisations, governments or companies. Therefore, it’s great to be able to report something really positive.
Australia’s Matthew Mitcham, the only openly gay male athlete competing in this year’s Olympic Games in Beijing, is also now the only openly gay male 2008 Olympic Champion.
Mitcham came out publicly in an interview he gave just weeks ago to the Sydney Morning Herald. At the time, the Australian newspaper described his decision, of being the first Australian to go to the Olympics declaring his homosexuality, as “a historic and courageous step”.
Mitcham’s journey has not been an easy one. He’s already battled depression, retired while still a teenager after becoming physically and emotionally burnt out, then, nine months later, resumed his sport to build himself into the champion he now undoubtedly is.
Lachlan Fletcher, his partner, has been at his side for the entire tumultuous journey, and was there to see the 20-year-old Mitcham (pictured) win a gold medal for the 10m platform diving event. Fletcher received a grant through the Johnson & Johnson Athlete Family Support Program so that he could be in Beijing. Mitcham said that they couldn’t afford to pay themselves, so he’d nominated Lachlan as the support person he wanted to go with him. Afterwards, the pair shared a kiss in front of millions of television viewers during the awards ceremony.
Australia’s Golden Boy has done himself proud!
You can read all our coverage of Matthew Mitcham here.