Champion figure skater Jason Brown came out in an inspiring message posted to Instagram over the weekend. The former U.S. National Champion, Olympic medalist, and current Olympic-hopeful said he was lucky to have been surrounded by strong role models within the LGBTQ+ community, thanked those before him who gave him the courage and inspiration to be open with himself and others, and said he was optimistic about the future.
"I'm gay, and that's a story still being written..." Brown posted to Instagram.
Brown, 26, has had a storied career as a skater. He won the overall U.S. junior title in 2010, and the Junior Grand Prix Final the next year. Brown was the 2015 U.S. National Champion and has won numerous medals in international competitions. He won a bronze medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and has also won seven Grand Prix medals and two medals for Four Continents competition. When he is not training or competing, Brown is also an accomplished pianist and dancer in his spare time.
He gave much of the credit for his success to those around him, especially queer role models who showed him being gay was an individual experience that reflected a person's own truth and experience.
"I've grown up surrounded by beautiful, creative, strong, proud, successful, and supportive LGBTQ+ role models. Whether it be family members, coaches, skaters, teachers, friends, or others I've had the privilege of crossing paths with, my perception of what it's like to be LGBTQ+ was far from one dimensional."
Because of their example, he never gave his sexuality much thought.
"I've always been shown the beauty in embracing love in every form. I never questioned my own sexuality or even thought much about it because it didn't matter," he continued. "I am who I am, and have always been fortunate to be surrounded by people who made me feel like that was enough."
However, Brown made clear he knows not everyone has it so easy.
"I realize that so many confront a different reality," Brown continued. "History hasn't always been kind, and the fight for equality and acceptance is an ongoing one."
He went on to close by thanking those who came before him, and who paved the way for him to publicly say he was gay.
"There is no doubt that my life's been enhanced because of the people around me who've had the courage to stand up and share a piece of who they are with the world...and for that, I say thank you," Brown wrote.