Olympic gymnast Danell Leyva came out as bisexual or pansexual — he's still trying to navigate between the two, he said — in a series of tweets last month. The three-time Olympic medalist revealed that he initially struggled to go public with the news because of preconceived notions people have about his sport.
Leyva, 29, was one of the few bright spots for Men's Gymnastics at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games. He won Bronze in the all-around at the London Games in 2012 and Silver in both the parallel and horizontal bars in 2016 at the Rio Games. He ended his senior career after those games, and since then Leyva, who defected from Cuba with his mother and stepfather at the age of 2, has truly come into his own.
He came out back on National Coming Out Day on October 11 by writing:
For a long time I’ve known that I wasn’t straight. But because of certain very personal reasons, I always rejected that side of me. Earlier this year I finally understood that I’m bi/pan (still trying to figure that one out) but... I also realized that, as of now at least, I’m not attracted to cis men. (That comes with those personal reasons I just mentioned). But I felt that it was time for me to finally share this with you all.
As most of you can imagine, this is absolutely terrifying.... One of the main reasons why I’ve never come out publicly is because throughout my life, for whatever reason, other people’s perception of my own sexuality have always been imposed onto me and it has always made me reject it even more. It made me uncomfortable. Not because...I was offended, because being gay is in no way offensive, but more so because it was and always has been/felt very intrusive.
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So this post, apart from being my way of sharing this with you all is also a reminder..... A reminder to check the way we say certain things to people. Because sometimes our hearts and intentions may be in the right place, but we never truly know what they’re dealing with.
He said in an interview with Olympic Channel that he was shocked at the response he got to the news, noting that Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez were among those who reached out to offer their support and admiration. “In the post, I said that I'm still trying to figure out between whether I'm a bi or pan. It was nice to have people be like, ‘You don't have to label it. You don't have to just be ‘a thing’. It's an ever-changing fluid thing, so you don't have to worry about that,’” said Leyva. “That was nice because that was certainly reassuring.”
Leyva also said that he made the decision to come out in order to help others. “If I get help one person be brave enough to live in their truth, then I feel like that that was the entire point of that post,” explained the gymnast.