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Canadian Olympian Comes Out

'Fire' Controversy Continues

By Rex Wockner
International News Report

Canadian Olympian Comes Out

Canadian Olympic gold-medal swimmer Mark Tewksbury came out of the closet December 15 in an appearance at Toronto's Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and in media interviews.

He made the decision to declare his sexuality after losing a six- figure contract as a motivational speaker for an unnamed financial institution which complained he already was "too openly gay."
mtewksbury.jpg - 2.76 K Mark Tewksbury

"This corporate catalyst ... made me realize it's time to share my whole story, which is still motivating and still exciting," Tewksbury said. "One door closed, but thousands more have opened. I have already been approached by two more companies to speak.

"When I was growing up I used to stand in front of mirrors and think about killing myself because I was gay," Tewksbury stated. "And that's still the number-one motivation behind teen suicide. That little part of me remained locked up for 30 years, and finally at 30, I am free of that. I am open to who I am. I've never felt freer, better, more whole as a human being than in the last couple of days.

"I'm coming screaming out of the closet -- I'm a great, screaming queen and I'm glad to be that way."

Tewksbury won three Olympic medals and set seven world records.
'Fire' Controversy Continues

fire4.jpg - 45.68 K The controversy over the lesbian-themed film Fire continued in India last week with the Supreme Court ordering the government to provide bodyguards to the movie's two female leads and to a director who has spoken in support of the film. The three said they had been threatened by zealots from the right-wing Shiv Sena party.

Since early December, members of the party have ransacked more than a dozen cinemas across the nation, intimidating managers into suspending screenings of the film. They smashed windows and snack counters and destroyed posters.

A Shiv Sena spokeswoman said: "This film poisons our women. It makes them curious about something immoral."

The film's stars, Shabana Azmi (who is also a member of parliament) and Nandita Das, have defended the film, saying it was approved by the nation's censorship board and should be allowed to be seen.

Screenings have continued at some cinemas even after the government sent the film back to the board for "recertification."
Related Stories in GayToday's Archives:
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India: Zealots Close Down Lesbian Movie

Related Sites:
More on Mark Tewksbury
Fire Official Site
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