Paralympian Theresa Goh Might Be The 1st Singapore Athlete To Come Out

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Theresa Goh Comes Out

Theresa Goh just came out as gay, and to The Straits Times, of all media sources.

The Paralympian, who was recently unveiled as a Pink Dot Ambassador along with Nathan Hartono and Ebi Shankara, did this in an interview with The Straits Times published on Sunday (June 11), where she revealed her thoughts and feelings about her sexuality

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The 30-year-old swimmer said that she never gave a thought to going public, as she regarded it a private matter.

But the support from her parents has given her the courage to stand for who she is and what she believes in.

Her Struggle

In the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, Theresa lost her motivation and considered retirement after she failed to get a medal in the 100m breaststroke SB4.

Things took a turn for the better in the 2016 Rio Games, as she snagged a bronze medal in the 100m.

In the ST interview, she said it feels like the right time to be open about her sexuality, as being put on the spotlight at the Rio Games prompted her to come out.

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No Role Models

However, it didn’t help Theresa that as there is a strong stigma attached to being gay in Singapore, the local media outlets don’t show any gay people in a positive light — and worse still for her as she’s disabled.

She told The Straits Times that the papers, television or the movies never show anyone on a wheelchair, let alone someone in a wheelchair who is gay.

Luckily, the Paralympic medallist has got the support from her parents, something she holds close to her heart.

No Need To Come Out

In fact, instead of coming out to her parents, her parents saved her the trouble by coming out to her.

That happened at a petrol kiosk when Theresa was 15, where Rose, her mother, told her that all they (her parents) want is for her to be happy, and taken care of — the gender of her partner does not matter.

My parents are amazing. From then on, I knew that I was safe, that I’m okay. It helped a lot once I had their backing. That’s something that a lot of people may not be lucky enough to have.

Theresa acknowledged that she could be putting herself and her loved ones at risk of public criticism and ridicule, but she said she needed to be true to herself.

She is apologetic towards parents who may not agree with her decision on coming out, but feels that if their children were to look up to her as a role model, they should do so with her as a person as a whole, not parts of her.

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Yip Pin Xiu

As for coming out to her best friend, fellow Paralympic swimmer Yip Pin Xiu, Theresa had to muster up the courage to do it. She felt she couldn’t hide it from her any longer.

Recalling what happened, Theresa couldn’t stop laughing:

I remember coming out to Pin Xiu and her going, “Huh, you gay meh?”

“Are you sure?”

But Pin Xiu has notoriously very bad “gaydar”.

Opening up has since helped the two forge a stronger friendship, she said.

Showing Support

We congratulate Theresa on her brace decision to be true to everyone.

And we hope all Singaporeans can support our 1st athlete to come out, and accept her for who she is.

And if Singaporeans want to support her further — Theresa will be at Pink Dot 2017 on July 1 at Hong Lim Park.

Featured image adapted from Facebook

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