Attitude cover star Matt Lister: I didn't want to come out while I was in school

Summer is officially here, and we’ve decided to celebrate with not one, but two stunning new cover stars, in the form of American model Laith Ashley and British canoeist Matt Lister. British canoeist Matt Lister tells us about leaving his beloved sport behind for good this summer and what comes next: namely, a ground-breaking new role as LGB ambassador for the British Athletics Commission and a (very understandable) new career in modelling. The 24-year-old, who came out publicly as gay in 2012, says that he feared coming out while he was in school because he was already getting bullied. "I didn't want to come out while I was in school because I was already bullied for being a fat, spotty kid and I was bigger than everyone and I was hairy." "I may as well have just worn a target," he adds. "I didn't want to add another thing to that pile, so I just waited till the last year of school, when I was in the sixth form." Matt Lister, Rower, Shot for GT magazine June 2016 issue He also explains that sportsmen still have a responsibility to be open about their sexuality for the sake of others still struggling for acceptance. “I would never shame someone for not coming out because it’s a personal choice and it’s a difficult thing to go through, but I feel as if it’s a necessity for the LGBT community because you’re in the public eye”, Matt says. “People are watching you, even people who aren’t involved in sport that maybe want to get into it, but they don’t try because they think it doesn’t fit them.” Lister is also a role model for Stonewall and reveals how he did an assembly to a group of 350 kids. "I told them about my life: how I came out and the responses I got back from the R U Coming Out story." He adds, "Afterwards, we had a focus group which - and I didn't know this until we got there - was the LGBT student group. That blew me away, then three kids came in and said they didn't know this existed. One of the kids came out while he was in there and I realised that I do have an effect on people." You can read Matt and Laith’s full interviews and check out their stunning new shoots in the new issue of Attitude, available to download now from It’s in shops next Wednesday (May 25), and print copies are available to order from Also in Attitude’s June Issue, alongside all your usual news, reviews, fitness & travel:
    • Queers & the cuts: In a special feature marking a year of Conservative majority rule, we look at the toll austerity is taking on the LGBT community.
    • We catch up with US pop starlet Ariana Grande as she releases her hotly anticipated third studio album.
    • Titan of musical theatre Bernadette Peters looks back over a glittering career as she prepares to return to the UK – and tells us why she has no time for diva behaviour.
    • The Fifth Harmony girls talk boys, gay pride and X Factor as they continue to take over the airwaves with the fruits of new album 7/27.
    • We meets the stars of Holding the Man, the most powerful gay romantic drama since Brokeback Mountain.
    • Mathew Horne spills the T on playing gay in Sky’s detective series Agatha Raisin.
    • MTV’s Maya Jama sees whether she can pass for a homo in How Gay Are You?
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