Villanova swimmer bravely comes out to entire team - they applaud

Villanova swimmer bravely comes out to entire team - they applaud

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d0d082b0970c-500wi-1Villanova swimmer Ryan Murtha thought he would never tell anyone that he is gay.

But after he began dating an openly gay man, the 20 year old decided to take the leap and came out to the entire swim team during their first meeting of the year.

He read to them a coming out letter he had secretly been composing on his computer which was published in its entirety by Outsports this week:

So this is tough for me and I apologize for taking so long to tell you guys this, but it took me forever to admit to myself and then it's been really hard to work up the courage to say it.

I'm gay. I've tried to bury this part of myself for a long time but slowly grew to accept it over the past year and a half. I want you guys to know that this isn't something that I chose. I was just born with it.

Anyway, I want you to know that I'm still the same person that I've been. I hope you guys don't see me any differently because of this. I don't think it should define me totally; it's just one of many parts that make up who I am.

But if for whatever reason you don't like me because of this, I guess I can't blame you because for a long time I hated myself for being gay, too. I made myself believe that living with this shame was worth not losing any of my friendships. But I don't want to be ashamed anymore. And I've kind of felt like I wouldn't be able to 100% accept myself and move on until I could be truthful with my friends. That's you guys. So if you're down to stick around and still be my friend, I can't even begin to say how grateful I would be.

If you have any questions or if you want to talk to me about it, feel free.

The reaction from his stunned teammates initially was complete silence until one of them began clapping then was soon joined by the others. They surrounded him and began cheering and hugging him.

'If sharing my story can help just one person, then it will be worth it,' he tells Outsports.

Murtha is an accomplished swimmer having qualified for the upcoming Big East Championships in four events: 100-meter breast, 200-meter breast, 200-meter medley and 400-meter medley.

This has been reposted from Gay Star News.