Bruce Mouat's Pride Month: Part One - Bruce's story

Olympic silver medallist Bruce Mouat became the first openly gay curler to be crowned a world champion earlier this year as he steered Team Mouat to a stunning gold in Canada, overcoming the hosts in a memorable final.

Newly inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Proud Scotland Awards, Bruce is now taking over the Team GB channels for ‘Bruce Mouat’s Pride Month.’

It has been a while now since I came out as gay.

I left school still in the closet and was struggling to feel totally comfortable within my sport.

Curling is a team sport and you have to be comfortable with who you're playing with, but I didn't feel that within myself. I thought I was going to be judged, which I guess a lot of LGBT people struggle with when they're coming out.

I wasn't playing very well, and I wasn't making the strides in my sport that I wanted to, so I spoke to a sports psychologist and opened up to them. She was actually the first person I ever told.

She helped me understand myself and she made me comfortable enough to tell my friends and family – then, eventually, my teammates.

Off the back of that, because I felt so welcomed by them and encouraged to just be myself, I started to really enjoy curling again and I started to play a lot better.

Within that season, we won the world junior bronze medal, we went on to the win the gold medal the following year – and now I'm doing pretty well with the men's team.

I always see that moment, when I chose to share who I really was, as the moment which flipped my career trajectory because I suddenly felt comfortable enough to be myself and an openly gay athlete.

At the 2022 Beijing Olympics, the exploits of Team Mouat gripped the nation. Bruce, Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan claimed Team GB’s first medal of the Games, a silver, after narrowly losing against Sweden in a tense gold medal match decided in an extra end. He also became the first person to represent Team GB in both men’s and mixed doubles curling, teaming up with his close friend Jen Dodds in the latter.

My team and I are good friends. We have to be because we spend so much time together, but they have always been so supportive of me.

We have a laugh – I will make fun of them about girls and they make fun of me about guys. It's just a really nice atmosphere.

We don't avoid talking about it, as that would be awkward. I've been really lucky to have such great teammates and, in fact, every person I've played with throughout my career has been very encouraging.

Obviously, we all want to do well in our sport, so we have to make each other feel safe. That's what gets the best out of us.

I just feel so fortunate to have those three guys in the team with me, as much as I'm the skip I don't feel like it, it really is like a democracy.

It's good to have that openness in a team environment.

When Team Mouat claimed gold at the World Curling Championships in April, Bruce's partner Craig raced onto the ice to congratulate his boyfriend. The moment will remain a lifelong treasured memory for both.

Having Craig on the ice after we won the World Championship gold was a really special moment.

To win in front of that crowd and my family in Canada was already great but Craig coming down was a nice surprise.

He gave me the biggest fright of my life, because I was holding the trophy at the time and it's quite a valuable thing – I'm sure it's insured for a lot of money. But he just ran on and gave me the biggest hug!

There are so many photos of that moment where I'm desperately hugging the trophy and trying to make sure I don't drop it while he's hugging me.

To see the amount of support that we had coming off the back of those photos and images was really encouraging.

There were a lot of special moments that week but having Craig there and being able to celebrate with him really was one of the best.

Bruce came out as gay to his teammates in 2014 and is just one of several Team GB athletes that identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and are helping other athletes see the value of living their authentic lives.

Being an openly gay Team GB athlete and an openly gay man is similar to how I want the future to look for other athletes.

When I was growing up, I didn't see a lot of gay athletes. I didn't really know if there was a space for me to be openly gay and a world class athlete, so when people like Mark Foster or Tom Daley decided to come out, it gave me hope that space did exist.

To be out and winning major championships as part of a British team makes me hope kids out there now know there is a space for them to continue in their sport.

It encourages me that there are kids out there who might be looking up to athletes such as Dan Jervis, Kirsty Gilmour, Saskia Budgett, Kyra Edwards and myself. They can watch us as athletes doing well, being open in our sexuality and being ourselves.

This Pride Month, I'll be speaking to four fellow Team GB athletes who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, delving into their sporting history within three different conversations on just what it means to be an openly LGBTQIA+ Olympian.

Welcome to Bruce Mouat's Pride Month.

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