Graeme Obree (Pic: www.obree.com)
Scottish racing cyclist Graeme Obree has revealed that he tried to commit suicide while trying to come to grips with being gay.
Obree (45), who twice broke the world record and is a former world champion, came out publicly in an interview with The Scottish Sun, published on Monday.
“I was brought up by a war generation; they grew up when gay people were put in jail. Being homosexual was so unthinkable that you just wouldn’t be gay,” said Obree.
He told the newspaper that he came out to his wife, whom he later divorced, and family in 2005. “It was difficult and there were lots of tears. It wasn’t easy. But the relationship with my parents has been improved by it. We talked about it and discussed things and we’re a lot happier.”
Obree, who was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2001, said that suicide attempts in 1998 and 2001 were also connected to the stress and anxiety of hiding his sexuality.
“I was brought up thinking you’d be better dead than gay. I must have known I was gay and it was so unacceptable,” he explained.
“People say, ‘How can you be gay and be married and have kids and not know it?’ But when I went to my psychologist she reckoned I had the emotional age of about 13 because I’d just closed down,” he said.
Following the publication of the interview on Monday, Obree tweeted: “the support today has been overwhelming and fantastic. it has been a long journey for me” and “thanks and more thanks. I had fear about today but instead I have been inspired.”