When First Called a Gay Slur, Spanish Sports Star Víctor Gutiérrez Didn't Know What It Meant

Monday April 18, 2022

Víctor Gutiérrez
Víctor Gutiérrez   (Source:Instagram)

Víctor Gutiérrez is one of Spain's leading professional sports figures and one of the most outspoken about LGBTQ rights. The water polo player who is on the national team came out in 2016, which made him the only out player from Spain that year at the Olympics.

This week Gutiérrez spoke to the news site 20minutos about his experiences since coming out and his part in the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ rights.

Last April Gutiérrez was involved in an altercation with a rival player who called him a "faggot." He went public with the accusation, which wasn't initially noted by the game officials; but after a review of video tapes, Serbian player Nemanja Ubovic was suspended for four games, reported the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

But, he pointed out, it is a slur that has been with the star from a very young age, though then he didn't know what it meant. "When I was eight years old it was the first time they called me a 'faggot'. I didn't even know what it meant. I had to ask," Gutiérrez said.

He called his decision to come out as "the most courageous and important decision of my life." And explained that he came out six years ago because "more LGTBI references in sport are necessary." Adding that young LGBTQ players should not be afraid of being out in the sport because "you can reach the sport's elite by being homosexual." 

Gutiérrez did acknowledge that professional sports remains "a sexist and sometimes insecure stronghold for LGTBI people." And while he feels that anti-gay incidents are "rare," he did recall an unfortunate quote from a teammate: "I'd rather have a son with Down Syndrome than a faggot."

"Changing this fight is not just for LGTBI people, it is a matter for everyone. I invite everyone to become an agent of change and fight for a society without LGTBIfobia," Gutiérrez said at the end of his interview.