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Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes announces she is gay - and kept it hidden for 34 years

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Dame Kelly Holmes has announced she is gay, and says she has hidden it for 34 years.Speaking during Pride month, the two-time gold medallist said she realised she was gay at the age of 17 after kissing a fellow female soldier, and that her family and friends have known since 1997.The Olympic champion told the Sunday Mirror: "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."The 52-year-old also revealed she struggled with her mental health because of having to hide her sexuality, and that she had to keep several same-sex relationships she had during her time in the Women's Royal Army Corps secret, for fear of being courts 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.

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