Harper, a veteran trainer onThe Biggest Loser, has never openly discussed his sexuality on the show although he hasn't necessarily tried to keep it a secret from the public either.
When 28-year-old contestant Bobby Saleem admitted he's afraid to tell his parents he's gay after years of hiding his true identity and feelings, Harper said he could relate and therefore decided to share the news he's also gay.
"I haven't talked about my sexuality on this show ever," Harper explained in a confessional during Tuesday night's broadcast. "And now, meeting Bobby, I really do believe this is the right time. I want to show Bobby that he doesn't have to live in shame."
In a sit-down conversation, Saleem told Harper he was raised in a strict Catholic family and always felt there was something wrong with him. Harper then told Saleem he gets it, that he totally understands where he's coming from.
"I'm gay. I knew a very long time ago that I was gay," Harper announced.
"The family that I grew up around is very much the same... there was so much repression there. I think that when I came out -- when I was 17-years-old -- it was one of those kind of things where I realized that there was going to be so many obstacles, but being gay doesn't mean being weak. And being gay doesn't mean that you are less than anybody else."
Harper suggested if Saleem breaks the walls down in his family, it may change his life for the better.
"It's just who you are, what you can do, and it's going to be the best step ever. You come out to your dad, you tell him who you are," Harper said. "It's going to be something that is going to change the path of your life."
"I'm just scared that I will be a disappointment to him because I am the eldest and I am the only son. I feel he's had different expectations of me, and I don't think I can meet that expectation," Saleem noted.
"I don't know your dad, sounds like he's a good man, a smart man -- if he's anything like you," Harper insisted. "And I think that he's going to accept you the way that you are and I think that it's going to be okay."
Saleem then addressed the cameras about the news Harper had shared with him.
"I think it's great that Bob has come out on television, and to me, to help me move past my issues with it," Saleem explained. "Bob is right, I think I've been holding onto a secret for entirely too long and I definitely will have a sit-down talk with my dad and let him know that I am gay."
On Day 1 at The Biggest Loser ranch, Saleem had expressed in more detail how he was feeling about being gay and keeping his sexuality a secret from his loved ones all his life.
"My dad and I don't have a relationship where we talk about personal things, so I definitely hide the fact that I'm gay around my parents. Growing up, I just felt so empty and so alone, and no one knew what I was going through. I felt like a total misfit, so I would eat to feel comforted," Saleem said in a confessional at the beginning of The Biggest Loser's fifteenth season.
"And I think not being open and honest with my parents, who are probably the closest people to me, has been definitely difficult for me. But I'm scared to tell my dad that I'm gay, and I'm not ready to face his disappointment in that."
(Photo credit NBC)
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