Dame Kelly Holmes has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support she has received after coming out as gay.
The 52-year-old Olympic champion, who first realised she was gay aged 17, said she finally feels free after hiding her sexuality out of fear of persecution.
She came out in a candid interview with the Sunday Mirror, in which she explained she ‘needed to do this now, for me’. ‘Sometimes I cry with relief,’ she told the publication.
‘The moment this comes out, I’m essentially getting rid of that fear.’
Dame Kelly, who has been branded an ‘inspiration’ for sharing her story, has been blown away by the reaction since and revealed her journey has been recorded in a documentary for ITV which is set to air next week.
Taking to Instagram, she penned: ‘The support has been overwhelming- I actually don’t think I can take it all in and process it right now! ❤️ So here it is, the start of a new chapter in my long life book.’
The sporting hero added that her late mother Pam would have been ‘so proud of my announcement’. ‘She always played me the song You Are A Superstar by Love Inc and wanted me to be truly me,’ she penned.
Sharing details of her upcoming ITV film, Dame Kelly revealed: ‘This announcement is part of a journey I have been on over the past four months filming a documentary about my authentic life and how hard it has been to not be me.’
She added that the project ‘taught me so much about generational and social advancements when it comes to the LGBTQ+ world’.
‘I have been petty oblivious and ignorant about it all but I hope one day to be an authoritative voice and also that my doc helps many people on all levels,’ she continued.
Dame Kelly also warned it’s an emotional watch ‘so get the tissues ordered!’
Fans rallied around the star ones again, with fashion designer Melissa Odabash writing: ‘👏👏👏so happy for you darling you’re a incredible hard working fit inspiration to many.’
One fan added: ‘You have provided us with so much joy watching you on track. Nothing changes the fact you are a national hero. I am so pleased you are free to live life 🥰’
Another said: ‘Congratulations 🎉🏳️🌈 Inspirational and admirable to so many people. Looking forward to seeing your documentary…. Enjoy your journey 🏳️🌈’
The athlete previously struggled with her mental health because of having to hide her sexuality and had to keep several same-sex relationships she had during her time in the Women’s Royal Army Corps secret, for fear of being court marshalled.
Until 2000, it was illegal for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people to serve in the British Army, Royal Navy, and RAF – and Dame Kelly feared she would still face repercussions for breaking that law during her time in the forces.
She contacted a military LGBTQ+ leader in 2020 to find out if she could be sanctioned for breaking Army rules and was told she would not be.
Kelly Holmes: Being Me airs on Sunday 26 June at 9pm on ITV.
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