“You can’t be Christian and gay. I am!” Olympic swimmer Dan Jervis comes out

Daniel Jervis (Image: GETTY)

British professional swimmer Dan Jervis reveals he’s gay

“It took 24 years to be who I was, but now I’m happy. I look in the mirror and I like who I am.”

Fresh from competing at the World Championships in Budapest, 26-year-old Daniel Jervis is weeks away from his third consecutive Commonwealth Games.

The self-described ‘Valley boy’ reached the 1500m final on his Olympic debut in Tokyo last year, finishing fifth, but has had some pretty big things happen in his personal life too.

Sparking on an episode of the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast, Jervis said:

 “It was something in the back of my mind, bugging me. I thought I was bisexual and had girlfriends that I loved – but it came to about three years ago where I knew I had to deal with this.”

“It wasn’t affecting my swimming, but me as a human being,” he revealed.

“It sounds quite drastic, but I wasn’t enjoying my life. Yeah, I was smiling, but there was something missing to make me properly happy.”

Dan Jervis has opened up on his sexuality ahead of the Commonwealth Games (Image: BBC Sport)

Speaking about the reactions he received, Jervis admitted some were “quite shocked”, but said “I’ve had all good reactions, and the way I’ve described it is I’m not going to change as a person. I’m still the Dan you’ve always known. You just know something else about me now.”

Jervis admitted he was inspired by Jake Daniels, the Blackpool FC player who made history by coming out as gay aged 17. In May, Daniels became only active male professional footballer in the UK and the first professional player to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

Jervis said: “When I was younger in swimming, I wasn’t aware of any out swimmers so didn’t have anyone I could look to who was like me. I want to be that person for someone.”

Not only is he likely to do that, but as a devout Christian he’s bound to inspire many by carrying the message that faith and queerness do not need to be mutually exclusive:

“I love God, and out of all the things in my life my faith is what I’m most proud of,” he said. “And there is this thing where people say you can’t be Christian and gay together, and I was sitting there knowing you can be because I am!”

Next month Jervis will compete in his third Commonwealth Games having been selected in the Welsh squad. The Neath-born star won silver in the 1500 metre freestyle race in the last Games in Australia four years ago, and also took bronze in Glasgow in 2014.

Congrats to you, Dan! And welcome!