“I actually quit the tour shortly after I came out because I couldn't handle mentally and emotionally what that was like."
A few years ago, I got pitchforked by social media mobs for questioning the validity of one-event world titles, with reference to Keala Kennelly’s big-wave crown, particularly since she didn’t make a wave in the final and there were only ten other competitors in the event.
I did forget what year I’m in and that any sort of critique is hate and so on, particularly if the person is female or gay.
To question someone who is both, even if the issue has nothing to do with gender or sexing, is suicidal.
It was enough to trigger some sort of sad feeling, if I was open to these sorts of things.
Anyway the actor, DJ, and still active pro surfer, who is bold and fearless in big waves, has revealed to People magazine that playing straight on tour nearly killed her and that she was riddled with self-hate for being gay.
“I had just all this internalized homophobia and self-hatred for being gay,” Kennelly says. “I was living this double life because on tour, I was pretending to be straight. I’m just a really honest person, I’m a really genuine, authentic person. So, to feel like I was living this lie was just crushing my soul and after so many years of that, it was just, “I can’t do this anymore, this is actually going to kill me if I can’t live my truth.” It got to a point where I didn’t care what the cost was, I couldn’t live like this.”
Kennelly says that it was “not okay to be a lesbian” and that if you did prefer shaved babylike snatches to rock-and-cock Tom Selleck lookalikes it was “career suicide.”
“So when I got on the tour, I was so freaking nervous because I inherently knew I was gay. So, I was absolutely terrified and I spent the majority of my time on the pro circuit in the closet and just completely terrified to come out — completely terrified to get outed, that I was going to lose my sponsors.”
In 2005, when Kennelly, aged twenty-seven, eventually came out she “faced a wave of homophobia from companies and other surfers that eventually led her to leave the sport.”
“I actually quit the tour shortly after I came out because I couldn’t handle mentally and emotionally what that was like. Then I had a few sponsors drop me and so, that was just more confirmation that it wasn’t okay. I left the tour because, emotionally and mentally, I just couldn’t handle it.”
Times change, of course, and Kennelly notes the world champ Tyler Wright wears a contest jersey with a gay flag.
“It makes me really happy that athletes are not having a struggle as I did,” says Kennelly. ” She came out and her sponsor didn’t drop her, they’re still supporting her. So, it’s really nice to see that attitude change.”
Incredibly, in the forty-six years since the men’s tour has been around, not one active male pro has admitted to being a barebacking queen.
(Yeah, Matt Branson, but for his time on tour he was played as super straight, eating out chicks in the Bells Beach carpark etc, as reported by Paul Sargeant.”
Is their gayness not real?