Race-car driver Hurley Haywood has come
The 69-year-old Haywood has won
multiple events, including five titles at the Rolex 24 at Daytona,
three at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and two at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Haywood talks about his sexuality for
the first time publicly in his upcoming memoir Hurley: From the
Beginning. A documentary is also in the works.
Haywood told Autoweek
about an interview he gave to a high school student. Halfway through
the interview, the young man, who was gay and knew Haywood was gay,
told him he had suicidal thoughts.
“He said, 'I have been bullied my
entire life. Every morning when I wake up, I think about suicide. I
have absolutely no respect for myself,'” Haywood said.
“I said, 'Listen, it's not what you
are, it's who you are. That's what people remember.'”
Haywood said he heard from the young
man's mother about a year and a half later. She credited him with
saving her son's life.
“Hearing from that mother – well it
was very emotional. And I thought, if my voice is strong enough to
help one kid, it might help two kids, or five, or a hundred,”
Haywood's sexuality was an open secret
in the racing world.
“The racing community has been
extremely supportive. I've never not gotten a ride because I was
gay. But what the outside world will think about it? I guess we'll
see,” Haywood said.