Gareth Thomas: I'm gay
The former Wales and British Lions captain Gareth Thomas has surprised the world of rugby by coming out as gay. The married 35-year-old Cardiff Blues player, who in 2007 became the first ever Welshman to win 100 caps for his country, admitted he had been suicidal at times as he hid his sexuality from his wife Jemma, his team-mates and the macho world of professional rugby as a whole.
"I was like a ticking bomb," Thomas told the Daily Mail. "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. I'd been through every emotion under the sun trying to deal with this," said the Bridgend-born full-back whose international career ended in 2007.
"I've been through all sorts of emotions with this – tears, anger and absolute despair. I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to let people know and, to be honest, I feel anxious about people's reactions and the effect it might have on my family," added Thomas. "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."
- 26 Dec, 2009
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