Former Bath and England star Levi Davis has made his sexuality public after his ‘sense of shame at not being normal’ led him to drink and mental health issues.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Davis explains: “I had hidden it well but I couldn’t keep it secret any longer. I had to tell them, all of them, not just a few. I didn’t want it to turn into Chinese whispers.
“So, on the spur of the moment, I put it on our WhatsApp group.”
He then had a rush of relief as the supportive messages from his team mates quickly buzzed into his inbox.
‘This changes nothing.’
‘Mate, we support you.’
‘You’re really brave.’
‘Fair play to you.’
He added: ‘Thankfully we can now discuss mental health more openly. And in the same way, I want people to feel that they can be who they are and that it is OK to be who they are.
‘Hiding who you are can kill you – and has killed people.
‘I don’t know yet where I am going, but by talking today I can walk hand-in-hand with whoever I want and it won’t matter any more because it’s out there.
‘I realise, though, that I am a bit niche and difficult to categorise: a black, bisexual, privately educated rugby professional. Even black people who hear me on the phone sometimes say, “You don’t sound black, you sound white.”
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LIST | The inspirational rugby union players who’ve come out as gay
Can we get a ‘love is love’ up in here?
Here, we round up the rugby players who’ve bravely came out to inspire a whole new generation of LGBTQ youth.
1. Gareth Thomas
He is one of the greatest rugby players in the history of the UK, captaining the Welsh international side as well as the British and Irish Lions during his career.
Thomas publicly came out in 2009 and has since described his experience as a secretly gay player, revealing how the social pressure and stereotypes pose a significant challenge for many athletes today.