Squash champion Todd Harrity, who has twice picked up the US Nationals title, became the first openly gay man at the top of the sport this week.
Reprinted from Pink News 30 April 2018. By Nick Duffy
In a post to social media, the 27-year-old athlete wrote: “To everyone I know, and to all who know me, I have something that I am finally ready to get off my chest.
“I am gay, and I’m ready to live my life as an openly gay man. I have decided to come out because I am convinced that having everyone know this about me is the only way I can truly be content. I also think it is what’s best for everyone around me, so that we can more fully understand each other.”
“To the people that I have already told, thank you. I was not ready to have everyone know this about me. I appreciate you keeping my secret, and not telling any curious people who might have asked you.”
He added: “To the Pro Squash world, we are a diverse group of different nationalities, ethnicities, and faiths. I don’t know how this will be received by everyone. But I have been dealing with this for a long time. This is what’s necessary for me to be myself, and best enjoy the rest of my time on the circuit, and beyond.”
Harrity added: “I am not famous. But if I can be a source of inspiration to any others in a similar situation, I am pleased. This has not been easy for me. It has taken me a long time to accept myself as I am. But now I have, and am ready to put all of this behind me and move on with my life.”
There are few openly gay men at the top levels of most professional sports, although there are many gay role models in women’s leagues.
Last year the former world No.1 and No.2 female squash players came out as gay and revealed they’re actually a couple. Aussie champ Rachael Grinham and England’s Jenny Duncalf met through the sport, falling in love after competing against each other professionally. The pair, who between them hold six gold medals and a whopping 44 Tour titles, dominated the sport for years. The two players came out together in May 2017, explaining they want to help others “feel more comfortable in their own skin.”
Duncalf wrote: “We felt that if by openly ‘coming out in professional sport’ we could help just one person feel more comfortable and encouraged about their own journey, then it would be more than worthwhile doing so.”
Grinham added: “I think some people in sport, especially high profile sports, feel that they are contracted to have a certain image and are afraid that being gay would lose them fans and endorsements. But I also think it is way better today than it has been in the past thanks to all those who have endured tough times and rallied for gay rights. 20 years ago I would have been afraid of coming out publicly but I’m proud of the way people’s minds have opened in recent years and I can certainly say that I was confident that this news would get more positive feedback today than negative. And if we can help others, then it’s worth doing.”