Venezuelan Olympic Diver Robert Páez
publicly came out gay this week in an emotional essay.
The 23-year-old Páez,
who competed in the three-meter springboard in the 2012 and 2016
Summer Olympics, said in his essay that he knew from a very young age
that he was different and that that difference was not “right” in
the eyes of society.
“It's a difficult road, to know at a
young age that we feel something that makes us believe we are not
'right' in the eyes of society,” he wrote in an essay published in
He continued that he believes he was
born gay and that his sexuality kept him from fully participating in
society. “I was at times ashamed to go out into society, to face
who I really was.”
He came out to his mother at 18,
telling her that he was in love.
“With a boy or a girl?” she wanted
said that he wanted to share his story to help make “homosexuality
as common of a word as heterosexuality.”
“Accepting ourselves and respecting
ourselves are big first steps. Life is too beautiful to be hidden in
a closet,” he added.