Olympic gold medal winner Matthew Mitcham has become a splash in the gay community. The diver, who now resides in Sydney, Australia, has decided to share his life as both an Olympic athlete and as an openly gay man growing up in a society searching for acceptance. The Gay News Network reported on Tuesday that Mitcham will share his stories and much more in his upcoming autobiography Twists and Turns which is scheduled to be released in December.
The book will “take a closer look at the anxiety and “crippling self-doubt” that he has battled as a teenager and young adult, a battle many young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered face in the day to day struggle with identity and being loved for who they are. The biggest challenge for Micham has been to stay the person he has always been despite becoming a figure in the spotlight and achieving fame. Micham writes in a blurb for the book:
“People kept remarking on how they were surprised that a gold medal and fame hadn’t changed me. I always responded, ‘Why would I change? Being me is the easiest person to be’. I was lying. It wasn’t”
Twists and Turns is being released by HarperCollins Publishers and has already been described as the “biggest book release of the year” for one particular bookshop. Graeme Aitken, from the Bookshop Darlinghurst, will help host a launch of the book. He compares Mitcham’s book to an Ian Roberts biography. He says, “I would expect Matthew’s book to actually surpass sales of Ian Roberts’ book, as he has such a massive following on social media, especially on Twitter, but also an enormous international fan base.”
When any celebrity, athlete or public figure comes out the closet as gay, they take on the responsibility of being more than just a role model; they become a family member to many LGBT people. And those who have had battles with self-doubt and depression will find a familiarity in Micham’s book and will find it as a source of strength which will be the real value in the release of the autobiography.
Micham has embraced becoming a gay icon. Back in April he talked about the importance of being out as a gay athlete.
“Until it is easy for sports people to come out without fear of persecution or fear of lost sponsorship income and stuff like that, or fear of being comfortable in the team environment, I don’t mind attention being brought to my sexuality in the hope that it might make other people feel more comfortable…in being comfortable enough about who they are in their sporting environment.”
The Olympic medalist is winning gold in gay communities across the world.