Amini Fonua is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to swim the 100-yard breaststroke at the Olympic games for his homeland of Tonga. But when he’s not wearing his official swimwear, the gay athlete often sports a tight blue and pink pair of men’s bikini swimming trunks, emblazoned with the words “L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center” on the back.
“Having the words ‘gay and lesbian’ over my butt is my way of announcing my queerness for the swimming world to see.”
The suit was given to him by the Los Angeles LGBT Center — the Center’s former name — three years ago.
“I have worn that suit to every single practice leading up to Rio,” the Texas A&M University graduate told Vanguard Now. Fonua was the winner of three gold medals from last year’s Pacific Games. He says the reason he’s worn that swimsuit is “because there’s not a lot of diversity in swimming. It’s a gentle reminder to everybody and myself that I’m different, and to take pride in that difference.”
It means absolutely everything to me,” he said, when asked if he thought it is important to be an out Olympian. “I also believe there’s real strength to be derived from the power of openly LGBT athletes, so to all the others in Rio, I say this: just by being here and being queer and present, you’re making a difference.”