Zimbabwe Olympic Swimmer Sean Gunn’s Coming Out Journey


Today, Sean Gunn is living his best life as an out gay man in Cape Town (Photos: Sean Gunn / Instagram)

Sean Gunn, a former Olympic swimmer from Zimbabwe who’s based in South Africa, recently publicly came out as a gay man in an interview with Out Sports.

Reflecting on his journey, the 30-year-old Gunn revealed that he began to come to terms with his sexuality while studying and swimming at the University of Kentucky in the US.

University Years: Navigating Identity

Initially dating women upon arriving at university, Gunn gradually started seeing men, a transition that his teammates were aware of and supported.

“I honestly don’t think anything really changed at all,” Gunn told Out Sports.

“If anything, friendships just became better. I think in my head I built it up for so long, and I was terrified that the way they acted or treated me would be different. But I was really lucky that everyone was so amazing and wanted me to be the happiest version of myself.”

Despite this acceptance among peers, coming out to his family posed a greater challenge, with Gunn not disclosing his sexuality to them until he was 27 years old.

“Unfortunately I only came out to my family and people back at home much later in life,” Gunn said. “Although I haven’t had one bad experience since coming out, I guess I just struggled with it for way too long.”


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A post shared by Sean Gunn (@seangunnnn)

Life After Swimming: Embracing Authenticity

Competing and representing his country on the world stage was something he still cherishes today. “I had dreamed of going to the Olympics since I was a little kid, and the whole time I was there I had to keep reminding myself that this is real life.”

Gunn also swam in various international competitions including the World Championships, All-Africa Games, and Zimbabwe Nationals. Breaking the Zimbabwean national record in the 100-meter freestyle was among his achievements. 

However, he stopped swimming a year after the Rio Olympics and today prefers running to doing laps in the pool.

Now residing in Cape Town with his boyfriend, Gunn embraces his identity as a fully out and proud gay man. “It makes me so happy to be surrounded by friends and family and so much love, and am really grateful for them all,” he said.

Sean Gunn’s journey highlights the complexities of coming to terms with one’s identity, the importance of supportive communities, and the ongoing process of embracing authenticity and living openly – especially in the world of sports.

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