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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Rugby star comes out

Don't know how many people follow rugby here and this has been an open secret in Wales for a while but it's still quite a big step to come out publicly.

http://www.sportinglife.com/rugbyuni...YU_Thomas.html

Rugby star Gareth Thomas said he hoped he could make a difference to others struggling with their sexuality after disclosing he is gay.

The former Wales international full-back said he was grateful for the "amazing response" he had received after describing his fears of how people would react.

Thomas, Wales' most-capped player and a former British and Irish Lions captain, said: "I just want to thank everyone for the amazing response I have received, on behalf of me, my family and friends.

"I hope that by saying this I can make a big difference to others in my situation. But for now, I just want to focus on being a rugby player and beating my old club Toulouse."

Thomas and his team the Cardiff Blues will take on Toulouse in the Heineken Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

Earlier, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Thomas said the secret of his sexuality was like a "ticking bomb" which he had tried to suppress.

"I just couldn't ignore it any more," he told the newspaper.

He said he realised in summer 2006 that he could no longer live a lie.

He told his wife, Jemma, that he was gay and felt like his life was "falling apart" as his four-year marriage broke down.

Thomas said he was "scared of the future and being single again as a gay man".

The 6ft 3in, 16-stone rugby star said he broke down in tears in the changing rooms of the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, after playing for Wales in November 2006 and later told his secret to coach Scott Johnson.

Thomas said he was frightened about how his team-mates would react but said nobody distanced themselves from him and his family have also stood by him.

The player has received the full backing of both the Welsh Rugby Union and the Cardiff Blues.

Roger Lewis, WRU group chief executive, said: "Gareth Thomas is one of Welsh rugby's outstanding players, a former captain, he holds the national appearance record (100 caps) and has scored 40 tries for his country.

"He was at the helm for the 2005 Six Nations Grand Slam, Wales' first clean sweep in the annual competition since 1978, and also captained the British and Irish Lions during their summer tour of New Zealand earlier that year.

"Gareth is a rugby leader and also a man of great humour. He is most probably one of the most popular players amongst his peers. He has been an inspiration to generations of rugby followers and continues to play at the top level of the game with the Cardiff Blues.

"Just as we support Gareth at this time that stance will remain consistent for any player.

"Whilst Gareth's private life is entirely irrelevant to his career as an international sportsman it would be remiss of the WRU not to remind him of the high esteem in which he is held in the game in Wales at a time when he has decided to bring such personal reflections to public notice."

Robert Norster, Cardiff Blues chief executive, said: "Gareth Thomas is a credit to Cardiff Blues who has truly brought honour to the jersey as a formidable player and a strong leader.

"His private life is his own concern and we will continue to acknowledge him for the qualities he brings to the squad as a player and an individual who exemplifies the values of commitment, determination and fair play we expect from our team.

"Gareth will always be revered for his achievements as a player and he deserves his place of honour in Welsh rugby history.

"Our teams are selected on merit and we will always choose players with the talent and ability to achieve the demanding standards we now set."

Thomas decided to go public about his sexuality to "send a positive message" to other gay people, especially young people considering a career in sport.

"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," he said.

Thomas, a supporter of the children's charity NSPCC, added: "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."

Thomas said he knew from the age of 16 or 17 that he was gay but could not accept it and feared it would affect his playing career.

He said he made up stories about girls to fit in with his male friends and felt he was sometimes overly aggressive as he played the straight man.

Thomas, who said he was never attracted to a team-mate, said rugby was his "saviour" as playing allowed him to escape from his personal confusion.

During the interview, Thomas admitted cheating on his wife with male partners and said he considered suicide as he felt so "horrible and guilty".

He said he still loved his estranged wife, who he describes as "the nicest person in the world".

Thomas said he did not want to be known as a "gay rugby player" and hoped people would treat his sexuality as "irrelevant".

"What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby," he said.

"I'd love for it, in 10 years' time, not to even be an issue in sport, and for people to say: 'So what?"'
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 03:03 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

Good for him! I'm sure he will be an inspiration to folk struggling with their identity. Good for the sport too
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 03:07 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

Good luck to him - I'm sure he'll get some grief from some neanderthalic fans but hopefully he can shrug that off and his friends, family and teammates will stand by him.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 03:12 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

here a famous hurler, Donal Og O'Cusack, came out a few months ago. fist top sportsman ever here afaik.

Didn't really create much of a stir at all. And this in a country where homosexuality was only officially decriminalised in 1993 and only because the govt's hand was forced by the European Court of Human Rights. His autobiography just won sports book of the year here as well.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 03:14 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

So what?

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 03:30 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

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Originally Posted by buddyholly View Post
So what?
Precisely!

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 04:23 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

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Originally Posted by buddyholly View Post
So what?
seriously it is a big step, it shows gay people they can be athletes in high profile sports. im sure you don't understand how being gay makes it even harder to become a world class athlete, as sport is seen as a masculine thing and ignorant people think gay people are all pink and unicorns. the intresting thing would be had he been openly gay all his life would he have achieved so much still. tennis has no out players as there is sponsorship, wildcards and public reaction at stake.

it would be great world if him being gay and a athlete was the norm and it was a 'so what' thing, but repression especially in sports is still very much there so it is a big thing.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 04:44 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

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Originally Posted by sammy01 View Post
seriously it is a big step, it shows gay people they can be athletes in high profile sports. im sure you don't understand how being gay makes it even harder to become a world class athlete, as sport is seen as a masculine thing and ignorant people think gay people are all pink and unicorns. the intresting thing would be had he been openly gay all his life would he have achieved so much still. tennis has no out players as there is sponsorship, wildcards and public reaction at stake.

it would be great world if him being gay and a athlete was the norm and it was a 'so what' thing, but repression especially in sports is still very much there so it is a big thing.
You did not even read the article!!!!!!

Just skip to the last line then.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 04:54 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

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You did not even read the article!!!!!!

Just skip to the last line then.
but it is never gonna be so what untill gay people are seen as equal to straight, and im affraid that aint happening in the next 10 years. i read the article and don't think it will be the norm or 'so what' anytime soon. we have yet to see a openly gay guy become a sportstar, the best we have right now is gay guys hiding it for most of their careers and coming out when it is almost safe to. steps are happening but im affraid for now and most probably the next 10 years at very least any openly gay sportstar will have to still hide who they are, thus when one does reveal they are gay it will be a big thing.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 05:02 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

It is never going to be "So What?'' if you think no-one should say ''So What?".

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 05:07 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

For goodness sake, people, the only person's sex life I care about is my own!

Gay, straight, bi, whatever, play your chosen sport to the best of your ability and good luck to you.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 05:14 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

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It is never going to be "So What?'' if you think no-one should say ''So What?".
what im trying to say is that it is harder for gay men to become athletes and hiding it makes it easier, so when we are at the stage where a gay guy is out at 20 and at the peak of his sport, he is still given every chance he would have if he were straight and he is treated exactly the same, then it will be so what as he sexuality will not be an issue. this sadly aint happening anytime soon, so untill then any gay guy that is involved/was involved in sport at a high level will be big news. saying 'so what' and acting like it isn't an issue helps no one or he would have been out all his career if that was the case.

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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 05:22 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

It was a quip, OK? Is humour to be non-PC now?

So when can we say what Gareth Thomas wants us to say?

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-20-2009, 05:06 PM
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Smile Re: Rugby star comes out

Gareth sent a positive message to others in his situation

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-20-2009, 06:11 PM
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Re: Rugby star comes out

Good for him.
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