Among those who have made LGBTQ+ history are the activists and athletes who have left a mark or are still active in the sports world. In a world dominated by straight males, some of these athletes have helped pave the way for other LGBTQ+ athletes whose dream is to join sports professionally. Below are the 3 most influential LGBTQ rugby players:
Roberts was among the best professional rugby players in Australia’s Rugby league. Roberts said that everyone on his team knew that he was gay before he came out, but it was a taboo issue, no one talked about it. So, when Thomas came out, his teammates were not shocked; only the public was shocked. But, he had already accepted himself and was ready for everything and anything. When maybe an opposing team insulted or called him names to get a rise out of him, it was a non-issue. He was only worried about the hurt his family and friend would encounter in the crowd.
Before he came out, Roberts tried to hide his gay status by going to clubs with a girl on his arm. And at the same, he would visit gay clubs, and he still had male boyfriends.
After retiring in 1997, Roberts moved on to be an actor. He is a great advocate for gay rights. He is also helping young gay teens in sports deal with their sexuality.
Thomas is a former Welsh rugby star. He came out publicly in December 2009. And in 2010, he was voted as the most influential gay person in the UK and was given the Stonewall’s Hero of the Year award. Thomas represented Wales at the rugby league and the rugby union. He is ranked as the 13th internationally and the second-highest scorer in Wales after Shane Williams.
Thomas retired from rugby in 2011.
He came out publicly as HIV positive in 2019 after a reporter turned up at his parents’ house to inform them of his status and asking them for a comment. Thomas said that he decided to make a documentary named Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me because of his experience after coming out positive.
Davis came out in April 2020 through a text to his teammates. They offered him love and support, which gave him the courage to go public with the story and show other LGBTQ athletes living in hiding that it is okay to show others and live your truth.
Like most people who struggle with their sexuality, Davis is not an exception. He struggled with his relationship and what his partners would think of him.
Davis’s childhood was not easy as he went into foster at seven, and rugby became his savior. He received a rugby scholarship when he was 12 and further immersed himself into the world of rugby. He later joined an English Premiership club, Bath Rugby, and from here, his career kicked off. He also participated in Celebrity X-Factor.
Looking from the outside, you would think he was on top of the world, but Davis was struggling with an identity crisis. He was in denial, and as a result, he started drinking heavily. Speaking to Daily Mail, Davis said that he felt and still feels like he is not normal.
Davis is now rebuilding his rugby career. He signed a two-year contract with a club in West London.
Davis tells others who are also in a similar position, on the verge of coming out, but fear makes you postpone, to rip off the band-aid. Because people are now more open to supporting the LGBTQ+ community and being you makes you happy. Since coming out, he is the happiest, and the icing on the cake is that he can be himself.
About the Author:
Judy Bokao is 20 years old and was born in Ethiopia but relocated to Nairobi two years ago. She is passionate about everyone having equal rights and is also big on conservation and speaking up for our planet. Judy loves reading and photography and is just a free-spirited young lady trying to grow into a woman her mom can be proud of.