By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com December 19 2013 6:36 PM ET
Chris Cheng, a marksman and past winner of the History Channel reality competition Top Shot, has come out as gay.
The season 4 champion revealed his sexual orientation during an interview with Recoil, a shooting publication marketed as “the ultimate firearms magazine for gun lifestyle.”
“I wanted to make a point that gays, and geeks for that matter, can shoot guns as good as anyone else,” said Cheng, who said he was open about his identity with producers during the casting process. “I’m pretty sure it factored into the casting panel’s decision to accept me, but it was one of many factors they considered. I had to demonstrate that I could shoot well.”
Cheng said his castmates were “either indifferent or accepting” throughout the season of the popular reality show, which pits competitors against one another in a variety of shooting challenges. And he expressed surprised by the acceptance that he has encountered among gun enthusiasts following his rise to reality stardom.
“The shooting community was honestly one of the last places I expected gay acceptance on any level," Cheng said. "That really caught me off guard, in a good way. It’s how life should be, where no one cares if you’re gay, straight, or somewhere in between."
“We should be evaluated and judged based on our skills and accomplishments,” he added. “While I was hoping to break some stereotypes, some of my own stereotypes regarding the shooting community were also broken. It was an enlightening experience.”