A post d by Steven (@swimls358) on Jun 30, 2016 at 6:39pm PDT
Writing for OutSports, he explains what kept him in the closet at the time:
I worked so hard to become a well-rounded Renaissance man. I was a national high school record holder in swimming, a pianist, an Eagle Scout and a polyglot. I didn’t want all my accomplishments to vanish under the term, “the gay swimmer” or “the gay guy.”
Deep down I knew I was gay, but I held it as my biggest secret, even afraid to let myself know.
Ultimately, he decided on USC, where for his freshman and sophomore year, he’d remain in the closet.
“I didn’t want to be known as the gay guy from outside Berkeley. I wanted my teammates to get to know me as the guy from outside Berkeley who had a passion for learning, swimming, food, travel, different cultures and friends.”
It’s a picture perfect moment stevenstumph.blogspot.com
A post d by Steven (@swimls358) on Aug 2, 2015 at 10:22am PDT
During our visit, we had a male safari guide. One night I was star gazing, admiring how I could see all the constellations in the amazingly crystal-clear sky. The safari guide came up to me, took my hand, came real close and pointed out all the Southern Hemisphere constellations.
He proceeded to say, “I totally understand if you don’t want to answer, if you give me no tip, and report me to my boss, but I want to ask you something. By any chance are you gay?”
In this moment, all I wanted to do was say yes. I was in the middle of nowhere, literally. I could tell him I was gay, and no one else would have to know. I could finally let out my secret. But what if he told my dad?
I told myself, that’s it, never again am I going to lie about being gay.
He responded, “aw, all right man. My mate thought you were cute.” He motioned for his buddy to come around the corner and out walks this extremely handsome man.
At that moment, Stumph told himself he could no longer lie about being gay.
When he came out to his best friend by baking her a rainbow cake to celebrate her visit from out of town, she replied, “about time!”
Coming out also brought him closer to his fellow athletes, whom he says pushed him in the weight room, the pool and the classroom.
Can’t wait to see what this season holds #Trojans #FightOn
A post d by Steven (@swimls358) on Oct 2, 2015 at 10:08pm PDT
Thanks to their motivation I was able to become the first three-time Pac-12 champion in the men’s 200-yard breaststroke for USC. Without their constant support, coming out would have been more difficult, and accomplishing my achievements in the pool would not have been possible.
PAC-12 ready or not, here we come @uscswim
A post d by Steven (@swimls358) on Feb 26, 2017 at 12:25pm PST
He says that he’s sharing his story, “to show that positive coming out stories exist.”
“Coming out was the best decision of my life. I have been much happier and been able to live authentically ever since. As a result, every day I strive to be honest and live for myself instead of others. “
For the full essay, to head to OutSports.
Go check out my coming out story on outsports.com! (Link in bio) I’m lucky enough to have an ideal coming out story and wanted to my experience with others. I’m incredibly thankful for my family and friends who support and love me no matter what! This past year has been filled with some very interesting stories, to say the least, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them!
A post d by Steven (@swimls358) on Nov 1, 2017 at 10:04am PDT