Kelly Holmes revealed one of the main reasons she kept her sexuality secret was because of “army interrogations” – something she’ll lift the lid on in tonight’s Being Me documentary.
The former Olympian’s new documentary, which airs tonight (Sunday June 26), goes into detail about her plight.
She confessed she realised she was gay as a soldier in the Women’s Royal Army Corps aged 17 in 1988.
Kelly Holmes reveals truth about coming out
Dame Kelly, 39, told Philip that it still feels “a bit scary” to be honest about her sexuality. He said that her announcement will help others.
“Absolutely,” she said. “I feel like that was one reason I wanted to do the documentary. If I was going to talk about… I needed to talk about this for myself and my own well-being, and my own mental health.”
I’ve never said that before – that I’m a gay woman – publicly on TV
Dame Kelly added: “The documentary was a way of me articulating the fear I’ve had for so many years and to allow me to have a platform to hopefully educate and inform people of the complexities of maybe being gay as well.
“I’ve never said that before – that I’m a gay woman – publicly on TV.”
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Kelly Holmes to detail interrogations in new documentary
Dame Kelly kept her sexuality a secret because, until 2000, it was illegal to be gay in the army.
She explained that on joining the Army, she was read the rules, meaning she grew up with the fear that being who she truly was would mean she couldn’t do the job she loved.
She was in the army for almost 10 years.
She said: “It was really difficult because there was interrogation that happened.
“In the documentary, I explain it a lot and I speak to people that dealt with some shocking things, but for me personally, having raids, it was scary, humiliating, embarrassing.
“People were tipped off, the Royal Military Police would come into your barracks and literally turn everything upside down, take everything out, you’d be left with your belongings laying around. They were trying to find any evidence you might be.
“If you got tipped off… you’d put everything into a box that wasn’t anything to do with your sexuality, into a box and hide it in the boot of a car because you don’t want to risk being court marshalled.”
It was only in December 2020, when she suffered a breakdown – after years of mental health troubles – that she realised she needed to “do something about it”.
But despite her bad experiences, Kelly is still supportive of the army.
Kelly Holmes: Being Me is on ITV on Sunday, June 26 at 10.20pm.
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