American hurdler and model Trey Cunningham has come out as gay.

In an interview with The New York Timesthe 25-year-old athlete opened up about his sexuality for the first time, revealing that he came out to his friends and family five years ago.

Cunningham, who specialises in 110 metre hurdles, described it as the “scariest thing I’ve ever done”.

He explained that his decision to come out publicly stems from a track training technique, where “we say our goals out loud”: “If there’s something we want to achieve, we say it. Putting something in words makes it real.”

College is when Cunningham started to explore his sexuality, although he said it took him “a while to know it felt right”.

He attributed this to his upbringing in Winfield, Alabama, a “rural, quite conservative, quite religious” city, “the sort of place where you did not want to be the gay kid at school.”

“So I had certain expectations of what my life would look like,” he continued, “and it took me a little while to get my head around it looking different to that.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Trey Cunningham (@treycunningham)

In an additional interview with US WeeklyCunningham celebrated how he’s “grown up in a time where people just don’t care anymore” about how someone identifies.

“I feel like I was on the cusp of that change, just a little bit. Especially my latter years of college, I’ve realized people just don’t care,” he said. “I’m just Trey and apparently it’s a special thing that I like to kiss guys.”

Although he acknowledged that there may be backlash from the boring anti-LGBTQIA+ crowd, Cunningham said he isn’t concerned.

“There’s going to be pockets of places where they don’t tolerate it and they might not champion it, or there might be punishment for it,” he said.

“I think that goes for anything outside of the norm around the world. But for the most part, the students don’t really care as much. They’re just like, ‘OK, cool.’”

In 2022, Cunningham came second in the 110 metres hurdles at the World Athletics Championships. Last month, he made the finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials, but failed to qualify.