Gus Kenworthy Opens Up About Depression, Suicide in New Interview

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday October 15, 2020

In a new interview, out Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy discusses his struggles with depression and suicide before coming out, The Daily Mail reports.

The interview, conducted with Megan Rapinoe, is part of a series for Abercrombie & Fitch's new IGTV series on Instagram.

Kenworthy said, "It's exhausting being in the closet. There was so much time and energy put into harboring that secret that I think it really took a toll on my mental health and I struggled with depression and at moments in my life, thoughts of suicide."

Being closeted and having to contend with everyday homophobic comments in sport ("in the starting gate at a competition, and you hear someone be like 'oh my God, these judges are being so day right now,' and you're like 'OK, well, that's actually not what they're being at all") took its toll.

Reiterating sentiments expressed by other LGBTQ figures — such as the late gay icon George Michael — Kenworthy said "I really just had a hard, hard time being proud of myself and coming to terms with myself and accepting myself."

Kenworthy came out in a 2015 interview with ESPN, and said the following year was "my best season to date." Why, he concludes, is because "I felt so liberated, I had a huge weight off my shoulders."

Elsewhere in the interview, the skier discusses the importance of mental health, especially for younger LGBTQ people "who are at a much higher risk of self-harm, just because they do struggle to come to terms with themselves, ourselves, and the rate of suicide is much higher."

Watch Kenworthy's interview with Rapinoe:

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.