Little by little, the walls are falling down. Although it is still a difficult subject to tackle in the world of sports, in recent times there have been several athletes who have publicly spoken about their homosexuality. With the aim of ending prejudice and fighting the discrimination that still prevails in this space, the French Guillaume Cizeron joined this group of people who proudly raise the community flags LGBTIQ + in the sports field.
On May 17, on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the successful 25-year-old ice skater shared a photo with his partner on his Instagram account. It was the first time she was publicly shown to him. Although he had never hidden his homosexuality from his inner circle, the general public still did not know it. This is how he made his exit from the closet.
This openness to society is a relief on a path that was not easy for Cizeron. He could not always live his sexual orientation freely and fully. In fact, during his childhood and adolescence this was a theme that haunted him. The prejudiced gaze of others and discriminatory behaviors earned him moments of great sadness.
This Saturday, the four-time world champion (as a couple with his partner Gabriella Papadakis) wrote a heartfelt letter for the French newspaper L’Equipe. In it, he recounted the doubts he had as a child, how the gender stereotypes, the insults in his youth and the heartbreaking emotional consequences of all that weighed on him – and how they still do.
With this writing, Cizeron seeks to encourage that no one else should go through those difficult times and to open the way for other athletes to live their lives in freedom, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Guillaume Cizeron's complete letter published in L’equipe:
"'Are you a girl or a boy?' My classmates asked me when I was a boy, usually followed by laughter and teasing from other students. Was it a girl or a boy? The question didn't seem so incongruous. Very young I remember wondering about my identity and my gender. I remember very clearly face my mother: 'Mom, am I a girl or a boy?'
"Obviously, I still couldn't understand or verbalize my questions, but I had a feeling of being different. Different from other boys. I was terrified of being born in the wrong body, for a long time I didn't know that being gay was a possibility, I just thought that Something was wrong with me. I don't want to encourage stereotypes, but I've always been more inclined to play with dolls, dress up and put on makeup. Very quickly, I understood that children shouldn't "play" Barbies. Then I stopped. bed, watching my two sisters dress up their dolls.
In elementary school, I used to be alone, I didn't want to play soccer with the boys, and some days, my friends wanted to stay with the girls. Then I sat in a corner, neither girl nor boy, somewhere between the two, desperately waiting for the sound of the end of recess. In college, I spent a lot of time in the bathroom, hiding so I wouldn't be persecuted or have to suffer the humiliation of loneliness. He was an extremely shy and terribly sensitive boy, he hardly ever answered insults. Fagot, fagot. The insults punctuated my daily life and soon became this unhealthy tune at the bottom of my thoughts. Addiction is the vice of bullying, you get used to violence, it becomes normal. And very often we end up believing that we deserve it. Those of us who have been led to believe that we don't deserve to be must constantly fight this version of ourselves shaped by others.
Even today I sometimes find myself censoring some of my actions, facial expressions, or words, out of shame or fear of being upset. I have spent several years trying to do this internal work that consists of rediscovering and accepting the parts of me that I had to hide, bury, eliminate. Every human being has a part of masculinity and femininity in him, whether he likes it or not. I personally cultivate and celebrate both, both in life and on ice. The two energies are very complementary and I have fun taking advantage of one or the other depending on the roles I dance on the ice.
Why talk about all this today you will ask me? I have been meditating on this for a few months, and after talking to some around me, I realized that if my words had the power to help a single person to love themselves better, to accept themselves, then it would be worth talking about. Today, despite great strides on the road to tolerance, the fight is not over. I consider that my silence would not serve the cause and would be more synonymous with indifference than taking a position. Even my conviction is that true tolerance would mean not having to leave the closet, since a heterosexual never had to reveal his orientation.
In an ideal world, no one would have to justify their sexual or romantic attractions. As someone dear to me once said to me, “You deserve to be loved. Simply because you exist. "Everyone deserves love and dignity, whether they identify as a man, a woman, or neither, whether they are attracted to a man, a woman, or both. We just want to be allowed to live in peace, with the respect, love and rights we deserve. But while I hope this world exists, I would like people who identify themselves by reading my words to know that they are not alone. The way they treat us does not have to define who we are. we will convert or what success we will experience Preserving your dignity and cultivating your inner wealth are the keys.
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The story of Sebastián Vega, the basketball player who told that he is gay: "You have to break the taboo and show that you can be gay and a professional athlete"
Nicolás Fernández, the goalkeeper who broke the taboo and spoke about his homosexuality in a locker room: "Footballers do not count it out of fear"
Los Bulldogs, the team that fights against homophobia and dreams of reaching the World Cup