Michael Gunning is an international competitive swimmer best known for participating in the 200 metre butterfly event. He holds dual Jamaican and British citizenship and is the current national record holder for the 200 metre butterfly, and the 200 and 400 metre freestyle events. After coming out as gay on the television show The Bi Life in December 2018, Gunning went on to win the Pride Award at the Attitude Pride Awards 2019 for his efforts in visualising LGBT sport around the globe. He aims to continue this work in order to make the sporting world an easier place for everyone to be their authentic selves.
Michael’s hopes for LGBT equality in sport
I’ve been part of sport for the past 15 years. The worries about how my sexuality would be perceived kicked in when I turned professional, and I suppressed my true feelings for a long time. I always thought that being a sportsperson meant you had to carry out a specific role, but since coming out in 2018, I’ve realised that there is no ‘specific role’ to be. I’ve been given a bigger voice and had an even bigger impact while still competing on the international stage. I’d love to know that by being my authentic self I’ve managed to inspire athletes from all sports to stay true to themselves, and to feel comfortable enough to come out.