Diana Nyad – an LGBT role model
Diana Nyad, who became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage or swimming fins, is a proudly lesbian woman.
On Monday, Nyad reached a Key West beach after swimming for almost 53 hours in shark infested waters.
The endurance challenge was something that she’d dreamed of for more than 30 years and unsuccessfully attempted four times previously.
Nyad was supported by a team who cleared her way of jellyfish. She never left the water, only stopping for breaks to be fed a nutrition gel and water. She vomited constantly as she swam because of the amount of sea water she swallowed.
Remarkably, the American is 64-years-old.
“…we should never, ever give up,” said an exhausted and sunburned Nyad as she completed the swim, adding “you never are too old to chase your dreams”.
Nyad, who is also an author, journalist and motivational speaker, has previously spoken about being lesbian in a 2012 interview with OUT, also revealing that she had struggled to deal with years of sexual abuse by a former male coach.
“I didn’t have any sexuality — I just knew I didn’t want to be with men. But I thought it was all just because of the trauma — you never know, but I think I was gay from day one,” she said.
Following her remarkable feat this week, she received a flood of congratulations, including a tweet from President Obama.
“Congratulations to @DianaNyad. Never give up on your dreams,” said the president.