British rugby legend Gareth Thomas comes out: "I'm gay"
Sport still remains a place where you could hardly find an openly gay sportsman. This is especially true in a more macho-like sports, like rugby (“'It is the toughest, most macho of male sports, and with that comes an image” - Gareth Thomas) or football etc.
Time is slowly but changing, and today’s news that British rugby legend Gareth Thomas comes out publicly about being gay is truly a remarkable one. In a candid interview with Daily Mail, Gareth explains why he made such a decision now, and his struggle in coming to terms with his sexuality. Apparently, he did come out to his wife and friends (team-mates) in 2006, and according to some reports, it was an open secret in the Wales for quite some time, but only today Gareth Thomas decided to come out in public.
I am sure, many of you would recognise yourself in emotions and feelings Gareth reveals, like I did. I highly recommend reading this headlining story in full. Below are few selected quotes.
Today, however, he has taken the remarkable decision to go public. It's his choice. No one has forced his hand.
He just feels attitudes have changed and the time is right for sport to start accepting openly gay people in the same way other professions have in recent years.
That secret, which he'd kept hidden his entire career, was - he admits now - 'like a tight knot in my stomach, always threatening to seep out'.
He says: 'I was like a ticking bomb. I thought I could suppress it, keep it locked away in some dark corner of myself, but I couldn't.
'It was who I was, and I just couldn't ignore it any more.
He says he feels like a teenager again, re-living his youth, discovering who he really is.
He hopes, now that he has gone public, he can still go out with male friends without people assuming he's with a lover.
'Just because you are gay, doesn't mean you fancy every man who walks the planet,' he says.
'I don't want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player first and foremost. I am a man.
'I just happen to be gay. It's irrelevant. What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby.
'It's pretty tough for me being the only international rugby player prepared to break the taboo.
'Statistically I can't be the only one, but I'm not aware of any other gay player still in the game.
'I'd love for it, in ten years' time, not to even be an issue in sport, and for people to say: "So what?" '
'It's been really tough for me, hiding who I really am, and I don't want it to be like that for the next young person who wants to play rugby, or some frightened young kid.
'I don't know if my life is going to be easier because I'm out, but if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to ChildLine, then it will have been worth it.
'My parents, my family and my friends all love me and accept me for who I am, and even if the public are upset by this, I know the love of those people who mean the most to me will never change.
'I'm not going on a crusade, but I'm proud of who I am. I feel I have achieved everything I could ever possibly have hoped to achieve out of rugby, and I did it being gay.
'I want to send a positive message to other gay people that they can do it, too.'