Dame Kelly Holmes says she is ‘processing’ after coming out as gay but feels positive for her future


‘My future will be a lot brighter’: Dame Kelly Holmes says she is ‘processing’ after coming out as gay but feels more ‘positive’ now… after she was hailed as an ‘inspiration’ for her documentary

Dame Kelly Holmes has admitted that she is still ‘processing’ after publicly coming out as gay but shared her hope that her future will be ‘a lot brighter’ now.

The athlete, 52, spoken openly about her sexuality for the first time earlier this month as she declared that she ‘finally feels free’ after years of living a ‘secret’ life.

She lived in fear of being exposed after joining the British Army at the age of 18 as the forces had a ban on LGBTQ+ soldiers, which was only lifted in 2000.

'My future will be a lot brighter': Dame Kelly Holmes has admitted that she is still 'processing' after publicly coming out as gay but shared her hopes for her future

‘My future will be a lot brighter’: Dame Kelly Holmes has admitted that she is still ‘processing’ after publicly coming out as gay but shared her hopes for her future

Speaking about coming out as gay on BBC’s Morning Live, Dame Kelly said the reaction from people has been ‘incredible’, with people reaching out to her after her ITV documentary Being Me aired on Sunday.

She told hosts Gethin White and Kimberley Jones that although she is feeling more ‘positive’ now, she also feels like she is ‘in limbo’ as she adjusts to living her ‘new normal’.

When asked what the public’s reaction has been like, she explained: ‘I have to say it’s been incredible, the warmth, the feedback of people coming forward to watch my documentary and you know, it’s kind of strange because I feel like I’m essentially still in a bit of a bubble and a little bit in limbo, you can’t just change. 

‘I’m still the same person, don’t get me wrong, but with the announcement, to suddenly to live the new norm is very different.’

Coming out: The athlete, 52, spoken openly about her sexuality for the first time earlier this month as she declared that she 'finally feels free' after years of living a 'secret' life

Coming out: The athlete, 52, spoken openly about her sexuality for the first time earlier this month as she declared that she ‘finally feels free’ after years of living a ‘secret’ life

The former Olympian went on to admit that she is still ‘processing’ everything that has happened since her announcement but said she feels like she can finally have a ‘brighter’ future now.

She continued: ‘It’s just one step at a time, I’m processing everything that’s come out in the last two weeks and I’m sure though, on a real positive note, that my future will be a lot brighter.’

Dame Kelly also spoke about how ‘heartwarming’ it has been for her to read other people’s stories, with many telling her that they have ‘found strength’ from her speaking about her own experiences.

‘When you do talk, you get a lot of stories back,’ she said.

‘There are so many people who have emailed and messaged who have found strength from my conversation and my stories and announcements – in lots of different ways, all different people of all different ages – and that has been so heartwarming.’

'New norm': The former Olympian said she is still 'processing' everything that has happened since her announcement but said she feels like she can finally have a 'brighter' future now

‘New norm’: The former Olympian said she is still ‘processing’ everything that has happened since her announcement but said she feels like she can finally have a ‘brighter’ future now 

Her comments come after she was hailed as an ‘inspiration’ after viewers were moved to tears while watching her documentary Being Me on Sunday night.

Dame Kelly said she was ‘just trying to free myself’ after suffering decades of mental and emotional torture as she came out as gay at the start of the programme, having hidden her sexuality for over 30 years.

An emotional and visibly nervous Dame Kelly came out at the start of her documentary, saying: ‘I think there comes a time in life when you’ve need to live your life and be who you want to be. Mine’s now.’

She continued: ‘I want people to know, directly from me, that I’m a gay woman but I’ve been unable to live my life authentically.

Praise: Her comments come after she was hailed as an 'inspiration' after viewers were moved to tears while watching her documentary Being Me on Sunday night

Praise: Her comments come after she was hailed as an ‘inspiration’ after viewers were moved to tears while watching her documentary Being Me on Sunday night

‘I feel like I’ve been trapped. It just weighs down on you every day. It puts a barrier up.

‘It puts this block, a wall, and then people don’t get to know the real you and I don’t want to live my life like that anymore.

‘I’m just trying to free myself.’ 

Dame Kelly was overwhelmingly heaped with praise on social media as the ITV audience watched her tell her story throughout the documentary.

Taking to Twitter to share some heartfelt words, one viewer wrote: ‘Watching the documentary about Dame Kelly Holmes #beingme unbelievable that just so recently she had to hide her individuality and risk being locked up and thrown out of the armed services and we might have lost one of our greatest athletes. Such an inspiring woman.’ 

Impressed: Dame Kelly was overwhelmingly heaped with praise on social media as the ITV audience watched her tell her story throughout the documentary

Impressed: Dame Kelly was overwhelmingly heaped with praise on social media as the ITV audience watched her tell her story throughout the documentary

Another viewer tweeted: ‘Well done Kelly for coming out and a brilliant documentary. Of course, it is totally understandable why you were scared to come out in the Army. Hope you can feel the love from the LGBTQ+ family.’ 

‘Just be you, it’s time for you to live your own life now as you want to live it, don’t worry about what other people think, nobody will be judging you. Well done amazing,’ offered another person.

While someone else shared: ‘Watching Dame Kelly Holmes. What a woman, you are an inspiration to all gay people, never be ashamed, we are all born to be what we are.’

‘Its so sad when people are unable to live their true life,’ wrote another audience member. ‘I hope you receive nothing but positive responses to the documentary. It’s not for others to control your life. Good luck x.’

The one-off documentary introduced those closest to the runner, and saw her discuss personal topics that she has never publicly spoken about before. 

Compassion: Another viewer tweeted: 'Well done Kelly for coming out and a brilliant documentary. Of course, it is totally understandable why you were scared to come out'

Compassion: Another viewer tweeted: ‘Well done Kelly for coming out and a brilliant documentary. Of course, it is totally understandable why you were scared to come out’

One scene saw the Olympian admit she ‘lost the plot’ when her mother Pam Norman died in 2017, adding that her mum would be ‘so proud’ that she is finally speaking out on her sexuality.

Dame Kelly had come out to her mother and she explained that ‘she wanted me to always be me and I just couldn’t’.

She added: ‘It’s consuming my life all the time, this worry and fear, which has been since I’ve been a kid.’

Earlier this month, the runner spoke about her sexuality for the first time as she declared she ‘finally feels free’ after years of living a ‘secret’ life.

The athletics star admitted she was ‘fully aware’ of rumours about her sexual orientation but is now happy to be coming out ‘on her own terms’.

Bond: One scene saw the Olympian admit she 'lost the plot' when her mother Pam Norman (pictured in 2005) died in 2017, saying her mum would be 'so proud' that she is speaking out

Bond: One scene saw the Olympian admit she ‘lost the plot’ when her mother Pam Norman (pictured in 2005) died in 2017, saying her mum would be ‘so proud’ that she is speaking out

Speaking to the Mirror, she said: ‘There have been lots of dark times where I wished I could scream that I am gay – but I couldn’t.

‘I needed to do this now, for me. It was my decision. I’m nervous about saying it. I feel like I’m going to explode with excitement. Sometimes I cry with relief. The moment this comes out, I’m essentially getting rid of that fear.’

Dame Kelly confirmed she has a partner but didn’t want to give any further details, admitting it is the first time she hasn’t introduced someone as a ‘friend or PA’.

She explained how her family and close friends have known for years she is gay but she worried about being in trouble for breaching retrospective rules in the Forces.

At the time, the forces had a ban on LGBT soldiers, which was only lifted in 2000. Dame Kelly had relationships with other women during her 10 years in service.

Dame Kelly, who chose to come out during Pride month, told how she first realised she was gay when she kissed another female soldier at the age of 17. 

Being me! Earlier this month, the runner spoke about her sexuality for the first time as she declared she 'finally feels free' after years of living a 'secret' life (pictured in 2020)

Being me! Earlier this month, the runner spoke about her sexuality for the first time as she declared she ‘finally feels free’ after years of living a ‘secret’ life (pictured in 2020)

After the kiss, Dame Kelly recalled writing to her stepdad who she shares a close relationship with to explain what had happened.

She was ‘confused and scared’ but Kelly revealed her stepfather accepted her straight away before coming out to the rest of her family in 1997.

Touching on her previous relationships with women, she said: ‘No disrespect to them, but the relationships have only been a small part of my life.

‘They haven’t been in this fearful world with me for 34 years.’

Dame Kelly – who was made a Dame in 2005 – said she dated one woman between the ages of 27 and 32 but broke off the relationship in 2002 so she was able to focus on the Athens Olympics.

Career: Dame Kelly said she dated one woman between the ages of 27 and 32 but broke off the relationship in 2002 so she was able to focus on the Athens Olympics

Career: Dame Kelly said she dated one woman between the ages of 27 and 32 but broke off the relationship in 2002 so she was able to focus on the Athens Olympics

And even her massive achievement of winning gold at the 800 and 1,500 metres at Athens were ruined due to her fears of being outed.

The TV personality, who is currently working on a documentary called Being Me, admitted she kept her true identity hidden for years and experienced episodes of self-harm has she struggled to cope.

Dame Kelly confessed that even as she celebrated her gold medal in the 800 and 1,500 metres at the Athens Olympics she feared being outed as her fame hit new heights.

Before the 2003 World Championship finals, Kelly said she hit an all time low and self-harmed, recalling how she had ‘no control’ over herself.

Dame Kelly didn’t ask for any support at the time out of fear she would be dropped from the Olympic team.

In 2018, Dame Kelly was made an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment, which she viewed as another barrier for her coming out.

After suffering a breakdown in 2020, she made a call to a LGBTQ+ leader to question if she could still face repercussions over her Army relationships.

When she was reassured that she wouldn’t get in any trouble with the Forces, Dame Kelly revealed she felt like she could ‘breathe again’.

Her documentary will see Kelly speak to LGBTQ+ soldiers and she said she was ‘gobsmacked’ about how much the Army has changed since her time serving.

She said she talking to some young people in the Forces for the documentary who weren’t even aware of the ban. 

Army: She explained how her family and close friends have known for years she is gay but she worried about being in trouble for breaching retrospective rules in the Armed Forces

Army: She explained how her family and close friends have known for years she is gay but she worried about being in trouble for breaching retrospective rules in the Armed Forces

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