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UK rugby player comes out

Timothy Kincaid

December 18th, 2009

Gareth ThomasGareth Thomas is not just a rugby player; he’s a legend in what is probably one of the toughest, most macho of sports. He was the first Welsh player to earn 100 caps and served as captain of Wale’s team. And he’s gay.

He told BBC:

“I just happen to be gay,” he added. “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 10 years’ time, not to even be an issue in sport, and for people to say: ‘So what?'”

Thomas is a welcome addition to those few other sports stars that have come out. He is especially welcome in that he is still a professional player in a sport that has not been historically seen as particularly welcoming to gay athletes or fans.

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Stefano A
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Actually, the BBC only provided a condenced version of him outing himself earlier in the Daily Mail.

I don’t have the link handy, but it shouldn’t be difficult to find with a google.

That article is much more in depth in talking about himself and his struggle to come to terms with his sexuality, being in the closet, being married and acting the tough macho mail.

One thing he said to the Daily Mail did rather bother me. He said:

“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.

Okay. Technically he was gay all this time and did realize that. But that statement bothered me, because he did not achieve all he did in ruby being gay, he did so by pretending to be straight.

However, hopefully with people like Thomas and Dónal Óg finally “coming out” others will achieve equal sports accomplishments while actually being openly gay and not pretending to be something else. On that point, I found Dónal Óg to be much more genuine.

Stefano A
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Errr make that, obviously, male not mail. LOL

Stefano A
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Oh! One thing I failed to say…

What I really appreciate about both Dónal Óg and Thomas is that they outed themselves while still playing, unlike others who waited until they’d left their sports or retired and had nothing (professionally) to lose at the time of their coming out.

Burr
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Well it has to start somewhere.. retired players coming out make it easier for their active contemporaries..

Stefano A
December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Burr:

Indeed! I would agree.

Lee
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

“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 sad that even open and honest gay people still reflexively repeat these memes. Heterosexuals consider their relationships and family (aka their orientation) to be the highest priority in their lives. Both Obama and Bush would tell you that their opposite-sex lovers are the backbone of their lives and reason for living.

Yet gays are supposed to somehow segment that part of their lives to imagined kinky perversions that only occur in the bedroom. Plus the statement that being gay had nothing to do with his achievements in rugby is patently absurd. I guarantee his perseverance and determination are specific qualities that were informed by his orientation. Shame on you Gareth for perpetuating the myth that gay orientation is some private and secretive sexual practice. Gay Republicans (like the Austin 12, Mary Cheney, and GOProud) have bought into the same rubbish.

Tina
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

Lee- exactly. And, well stated.

We do ourselves no service by falling back on that old line about “behind closed (bedroom) doors.”

“Rugby Star Gareth Thomas Comes Out” and related posts « Twitter
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

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Scott
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

I commend Thomas for coming out. Perhaps with time he will be more open about the gay side of his life and not feel a need to “sanitize” it for the average beer bellied macho rugby fan. I do agree with the others who suggest that we should not have to make apologies for our personal lives and our relationships. It may be for this man that simply admitting that he is gay now was a major step. Hopefully with time he will have the courage to openly discuss the rest of his life. I am in the same position—masculine guy, started to come out a few years ago, live in a very homophobic community, and plan to divulge more about my personal life after the homophobes have had time to acclimate to the news. This doesn’t mean I am making apologies or catering to the straight community. It has to do with me surviving in my community at this time. We don’t all live in liberal and accepting communities. It takes time to change peoples way of thinking and to generate acceptance. Each gay person needs to approach this in their own way as our life circumstances all differ. He probably doesn’t want to get the shit beat out of him now. The important thing is that he came out.

Timothy Kincaid
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

The article Stephano reference in the Daily Mail is here.

Scott,

Thank you for sharing your perspective. I think that it is rather likely that rugby players and rugby fans will accept Gareth’s orientation on a conceptual level (i.e. he’s gay but we don’t see any actual physical evidence of it) before they can accept it on a real life level (i.e. here’s the man he loves).

I would love to have it be all at once. Wouldn’t we all? But I do recognize that if the rugby community accepts the no-details version of his orientation, that will definitely be a step in the direction we want to go.

TampaZeke
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

Stefano, what I find MUCH more offensive than the sentence you stated is the headline of the Daily Mail article that broke the story:

“British Lions Rugby Legend Gareth Thomas: ‘It’s Ended My Marriage and Nearly Driven Me to Suicide. Now It’s Time to Tell the World the Truth – I’m Gay’.”

Exodus International, the National Organization for Marriage and Focus on the Family put together couldn’t have written a more sensational and anti-gay headline. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t get a whole lot better after that with the two beautiful pictures of him and his wife (yes he’s still married to a woman) and paragraph after paragraph about how in love with her he was, and is (strange how he goes on and on in a newpaper talking about his relationship with a woman he married but claims that his homosexuality is only about things he does behind closed doors), and that he just can’t “overcome his feelings”. The only time he talks about homosexual encounters he talks about how ashamed, guilty and suicidal they made him feel. The whole thing is written in a way that would tell the average non-gay person, or struggling closeted gay person, that homosexuality is an unwanted, destructive addiction that tears families apart and ruins the perfect happy lives of those who allow it to take over. Ex-gay 101. It reminds me very much of the gay police chief in London. He did EXACTLY the same thing when he came out.

I know he’s trying to help but I fear that the way he’s presenting the issue he may do more harm than good to the people who need help the most.

R Holmes
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

The Daily Mail is not known as The Daily Hate Mail for nothing. A month or so ago, they printed an opinion piece on the death of Stephen Gately (a young gay singer who had married his partner) which – as well as speculating that the case of his death was unnatural (when the coroner has said the opposite) – pretty much implied that gay people can’t commit, have normal lives or be happy.

That article generate the highest number of complaints ever recorded by the Press Complaints Commission.

Lee
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

Scott: “I am in the same position—masculine guy, started to come out a few years ago, live in a very homophobic community, and plan to divulge more about my personal life after the homophobes have had time to acclimate to the news.”

I’ve never understood this type of self pity. If self-described “straight-acting” masculine gay men have it so hard that they can’t come out, what does that make the queeny, effeminate gay men who seem to be at the forefront of every right we’ve ever won? Are they super-masculine and macho-courageous? You can’t say they all grew up in this liberal, accepting environment you claim.

Jason D
December 19th, 2009 | LINK

Lee, not to stray too far, but I think the more feminine gays Come Out, proud, loud, and ready for action because their circumstances force them to bravely face the situation.

I mean, the masculine guys can hide in plain sight.

But the feminine gays can’t hide. You can see us from space!!

So a feminine gay man has the choice “get tough” or “get creamed”. Drag Queens, in or out of their female persona are possibly the toughest men you’ll meet in your life. Some of that plastic surgery is reconstructive surgery.

It’s funny, because some of the self-proclaimed straight-acting gay men I’ve met will kick your butt up and down the street if you dare suggest they’re not manly in some fashion — but somehow, somehow disapproval scares the living crap out of them.

joel
December 21st, 2009 | LINK

“What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby.”

As Lee pointed out. This pretty much reduces homosexuality to sodomy.

Having just read the two articles related to this, the first thing that jumped out was when she said,(after knowing he was gay) “We were still together, but living parallel lives. It was very hard for us to let go of each other, and we would often end up in tears, because the love between us was still there”.

I dont get it then… Assuming he did all of this genuinely, rather than playing a role(which doesn’t seem he was trying to play w/ her exclusively).
Romance… check.
Passion… check.
Love… check.

Sustained by, “the craziest thing about Jemma is that I genuinely did love her. She was the nicest, most caring, understanding, prettiest girl I had ever met

It was such a confusing time because I had amazingly strong feelings for her, yet I knew I had taken who I was and put it in a little ball and pushed it in a corner.”

So WHO HE WAS was bi(one of the 90%gay-10%bi).

Did his self-rejection somehow make him prone to one night stands because of the emotional turmoil? Otherwise… the only problem was that he couldn’t hold his masculinity in his pants. And even if he did have a male partner, it wouldn’t have changed the fact that he would cheat.

Supporting the notion that he just cheated on her, he says, “I wanted to make love to her because of my feelings for her. It wouldn’t have mattered to me if she was a man, a woman or an alien.”

So you ARE attracted to this person… It wouldn’t have mattered if she was an alien or a dummy? What does this even mean? All your saying seems to indicate that you ARE attracted to this person.

I honestly find his intentions to be good, yet, maybe he could’ve stuck with her now that the emotional turmoil he had of being distressed over being gay was gone. He would now be able to sanely establish a relationship. Thus, unless he was like slutty Woods, he would no longer need to visit rainbow bars for ‘being gay’ sex.

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