April 9, 2018 | Posted in Celebrity by
Robert Páez is a Venezuelan Olympic diver who represented his country in both the 2012 and 2016 Summer Games. In an op-ed with Outsports, the 23-year-old came out to the public for the first time.
In the op-ed, Páez says that he knew he was different from a very early age. He says that although he didn't know what "different" meant at the time, he became aware of himself at just a few years old.
"I was born gay. As I got older I became more aware of it, and as I grew–like with so many others–it became my great dilemma," he writes. "It was a source of worry that I was interested in things like dancing and fashion, things that in my culture were for women and gays. I shied away from doing many things. I was at times ashamed to go out into society, to face who I really was."
After much thought and building up the courage to do so, Páez says he was finally comfortable enough to face his fears and come out to the rest of the world. He says he’s no longer ashamed of who he is. He admits that fear kept him closeted for many years, but he’s no longer going to surrender to it.
To come out in a country that still doesn't recognize gay marriage, or even allow gay families to adopt, is big. I applaud Páez's courage to do what he did on a public platform when he was well aware of the consequences in his own homeland.
"In sharing my story, I hope to help make homosexuality as common of a word as heterosexuality," he writes. "We have to understand that we are all equal. Accepting ourselves and respecting ourselves are big first steps. Life is too beautiful to be hidden in a closet."