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Simon Dunn urges more closeted athletes to come out

By Attitude Magazine

Last year handsome, Sydney Convicts rugby union player Simon Dunn made news across the globe when he joined the australian bobsleigh team and became the world’s first openly gay man to do so.
Like Ben Cohen and Gareth Thomas before him, the rugged athlete is on a mission to make sport a more diverse and united environment for young gay guys and is determined to encourage more and more of them to be out and open.
Here, aTEEN meets Simon in his adopted home of Calgary, Canada to chat about why he regrets coming out so late and why he’s hopeful for the future.
You play for the Canucks Rugby Club in Calgary now. Was it hard telling them you were gay?
There was never a coming out. I’ve been out for a long time now so I don’t feel the need to tell people unless I’m asked. I have to admit I was a little nervous to start with but eventually realised that I had more of an issue with being a gay player within the club than my team mates did.
You’re a bobsledder, is it a sport that is inclusive?
Bobsled is also a hyper masculine sport. It’s full of ex rugby players, American footballers and sprinters. I’m yet to have any negative reactions and my team are completely supportive.
Are there a lot of gay men in bobsledding?
It’s not very common for gay men to compete. Lesbians are a lot more common. Two of my mentors being Nicola Minichiello who competed for Britain at the games and her partner Jo Manning are married. So for me having their involvement in the sport prior to me definitely made it a lot easier for myself. And hopefully athletes in the future.
Do we need more guys like you and Tom Daley stepping forward as role models?
Definitely. A big motivator for is the fact I not only represent Australia but the entire gay community. If even only one gay teen sees what I’m doing and realises their sexuality shouldn’t be a factor in sport. That’s a win in itself.
Who are the gay sport stars you admire most?
Matt Mitchem, Tom Daley, Gareth Thomas. Actually all of them, any athlete who is comfortable and brave enough to come out in sport, deserves my admiration.

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You can grab your copy of aTEEN issue two right now from The issue also includes interviews with the likes of Years & Years, Ben Cohen, Chris Mears and TOWIE’s Vas Morgan.