‘Sometimes I cry with relief,’ Kelly Holmes says of coming out as homosexual

Dame Kelly Holmes has revealed she is gay and said she ‘has to do it now’.

During Pride Month, the two-time Olympic gold medalist said she realized she was gay aged 17 after kissing a fellow soldier and her family and friends had known it ever since 1997. “I had to do it now, for me,” she told the Sunday Mirror. “It was my decision. I’m nervous to say it. I feel like I’m exploding with excitement. Sometimes I cry with relief. By the time this comes out, I basically get rid of that fear.

Holmes, 52, also revealed that she had mental health issues because she had to hide her sexuality and had to keep several same-sex relationships she had while in the Women’s Royal secret. Army Corps, lest they be court-martialled. . Until 2000 it was illegal for gays, lesbians and bisexuals to serve in the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF – and Holmes feared during her time in the armed forces that she would still face consequences if it objected to the violation of this law.

She reached out to an LGBTQ+ military leader in 2020 to see if she could be disciplined for breaking Army rules and was told she wouldn’t. She said: “I felt like I could breathe again, a little phone call could have saved 28 years of heartache.”

Holmes also founded a charity in 2008, set up to help retired athletes transition from their sport and create mentorship programs to attract young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to the sport.

Social media has been flooded with support for the Olympic champion. She has also started filming a documentary about her experience called Being Me, in which she talks to LGBTQ+ soldiers about her life in the military.

…we would like to ask you a small favor. Millions of people turn to the Guardian every day for open, independent and quality information, and readers in 180 countries around the world now support us financially. We believe that everyone deserves access to information based on science and truth and analysis rooted in authority and integrity. That’s why we’ve made a different choice: keep our coverage open to all readers, no matter where they live or what they can afford. This means more people can be better informed, united and inspired to take meaningful action.

In these perilous times, a global truth-seeking news organization like The Guardian is essential. We have no shareholders or billionaires, which means that our journalism is free from commercial and political influences – this is what makes us different. If it has never been more important, our independence allows us to fearlessly investigate, challenge and expose those in power.