Dame Kelly Holmes admits she finally understands the importance of ‘all the letters’ in LGBTQ+

Dame Kelly Holmes has opened up about discovering more about the LGBTQ+ community since coming out, explaining that she’s taken time to understand why “all the letters” in LGBTQ+ matter.

The former Olympic runner and Loose Woman panellist came out as a lesbian in June 2022, and has since committed to learning more about the LGBTQ+ community.

Speaking to Hello!, Holmes, 52, shared that before coming out she didn’t appreciate why the LGBTQ+ acronym needed to be inclusive.

“I didn’t understand why all the letters were always extending, why we need such individuality, but I kind of get it now,” she said.

“It’s about feeling valid and having a place where you are seen and heard; where people accept you for who you are and you can identify with people who feel like you.” 

Earlier this year, Holmes came out swinging for trans rights amid the ongoing furore around trans people wanting to play sports.

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Currently, trans women are effectively banned from competing professionally in several sports in the UK, including swimming, cycling and rugby.

Dame Kelly Holmes on stage at Pride in London hugging a drag queen.
Since coming out, Dame Kelly Holmes has committed to standing with the LGBTQ+ community. (Getty/ Tristan Fewings/Stringer)

Holmes dismissed a comment she made in 2019 about creating a “trans games” for trans sportspeople as “ignorant”, adding that she “totally supports” her “trans siblings”.

“I have been ignorant in the past about the fight of the trans community and I now want to see fair and conclusive outcome for those whose gender differs from that assigned at birth, in all walks of life, including sport,” she said in an Instagram story in January.

|It is important everyone in society is treated fairly and for sport, a scientific approach on this matter is taken, like in other countries where scientific reviews have already happened.”

A report published in January found that trans women in elite sport do not have advantages over other women, if existing rules are followed.

Kelly Holmes has previously expressed how coming out has positively impacted her life, saying she is “happy for the first time”.

However, the former army member has shared that, despite feeling more “expressive” now, she still finds it hard to fully be herself.

“It’s still hard … to be free in conversation – not be such a prude, or worry about something I’ve said – that’s a transition for me,” she explained during her Hello interview.

“I’m having to re-learn how to be.”