Sports Legend Gareth Thomas Comes Out

leekohler

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Dec 22, 2004
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Gareth Thomas, a British sports legend and international rugby star, has announced that he is gay. The 35-year-old, who retired from internationals after the 2007 World Cup, but still plays for Welsh provincial side Cardiff Blues, also says he doesn’t want to be known as “a gay rugby player.”

"I don't want to be known as a gay rugby player,” Thomas says in an interview with British newspaper The Daily Mail. “I am a rugby player first and foremost. I am a man. I just happen to be gay. 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."

Thomas married his childhood sweetheart, Jemma, in 2002, but the two were separated in 2006, and their divorce is being finalized.

"I've been through all sorts of emotions with this, tears, anger and absolute despair," Thomas adds. "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."

He also admits that it had been "really tough" hiding his sexuality, but he hopes coming out would help future generations of rugby players.

Thomas says that his close family and friends have accepted his decision and will continue to support him, but that he has no plans to launch a "crusade" but wants to send a "positive message" to other gay people.
http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2009/12/19/Sports_Legend_Gareth_Thomas_Comes_Out/

Wow- so it's still this difficult for people in sports to come out in the UK? Too bad, but good for him.
 

Queso

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Mar 4, 2006
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Depends on the sport really. It's pretty much accepted that lots of rugby players are gay, although this is the first professional player that's officially come out. I just wish he hadn't done the token-wife thing whilst he worked his head out. It's the only thing in the story that takes the shine off.
 

leekohler

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Dec 22, 2004
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Depends on the sport really. It's pretty much accepted that lots of rugby players are gay, although this is the first professional player that's officially come out. I just wish he hadn't done the token-wife thing whilst he worked his head out. It's the only thing in the story that takes the shine off.
A lot of people will do anything to keep their careers. It's sad that the token wife thing had to be one of them.

I didn't realize that people thought a lot of rugby players are gay. I guess that should debunk the "sissy" stereotype.

We have a gay rugby team here in Chicago that plays in a straight league. The other teams love and fear those guys.
 

Jaffa Cake

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Aug 1, 2004
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Wow- so it's still this difficult for people in sports to come out in the UK?
Unfortunately so – there have been a couple over the years, but they're few and far between.

The key figure who I suppose many will think of is Justin Fashanu, who was Britain's first £1million black footballer and also the first – and so far as I'm aware still the only – professional footballer to come out in this country.

It's fair to say that this revelation was severely detrimental to his career, and ultimately he took his own life, this was back in the late nineties. As well as the pressures placed upon him due to his private life being under such public scrutiny, he'd also been accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy (in the States, if memory serves), a charge that by the time of his death had been dropped due to lack of evidence. None the less, it took its toll on him.

There are some that will tell you that folk like Fashanu and Thomas are the exceptions to the rule – that professionals in sports like football (be it Association or American code) and rugby aren't gay, because they're proper men and all that. Frankly, they're deluded to think along those lines.

There may be precious few who are open about their sexuality, at least publicly, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist. Personally, I couldn't give two hoots who a given player sleeps with, it's his performance on the pitch and not in the bedroom that concerns me. Hopefully Thomas' example will encourage other to come forward.
 

leekohler

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Dec 22, 2004
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Unfortunately so – there have been a couple over the years, but they're few and far between.

The key figure who I suppose many will think of is Justin Fashanu, who was Britain's first £1million black footballer and also the first – and so far as I'm aware still the only – professional footballer to come out in this country.

It's fair to say that this revelation was severely detrimental to his career, and ultimately he took his own life, this was back in the late nineties. As well as the pressures placed upon him due to his private life being under such public scrutiny, he'd also been accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy (in the States, if memory serves), a charge that by the time of his death had been dropped due to lack of evidence. None the less, it took its toll on him.

There are some that will tell you that folk like Fashanu and Thomas are the exceptions to the rule – that professionals in sports like football (be it Association or American code) and rugby aren't gay, because they're proper men and all that. Frankly, they're deluded to think along those lines.

There may be precious few who are open about their sexuality, at least publicly, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist. Personally, I couldn't give two hoots who a given player sleeps with, it's his performance on the pitch and not in the bedroom that concerns me. Hopefully Thomas' example will encourage other to come forward.
We've had more than a few come out here in the States, but usually after they retire. It's too bad they feel they have to wait til then.
 

Jaffa Cake

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Aug 1, 2004
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We've had more than a few come out here in the States, but usually after they retire. It's too bad they feel they have to wait til then.
I suppose that concerns such as how team mates and coaches will react come into play, as well as fans and sponsors. As I say, with some more high profile examples perhaps these fears might be allayed somewhat.
 

Eraserhead

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Nov 3, 2005
10,300
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As a non-sporty person I'm surprised that he's the first rugby player to come out. Good for him, but bad that noone's done it before :(.

There are some that will tell you that folk like Fashanu and Thomas are the exceptions to the rule – that professionals in sports like football (be it Association or American code) and rugby aren't gay, because they're proper men and all that. Frankly, they're deluded to think along those lines.
They remind me of Ahmadinejad saying there are no gays in Iran.

It's fair to say that this revelation was severely detrimental to his career, and ultimately he took his own life, this was back in the late nineties.
I think its fair to say gay rights have improved significantly over the past 10 years here in the UK.
 

leekohler

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Dec 22, 2004
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As a non-sporty person I'm surprised that he's the first rugby player to come out. Good for him, but bad that noone's done it before :(.
Well look at the guy. Are you gonna mess with him? I'm surprised he just doesn't walk around saying, "I'm a homo, you got a problem with that?"

He's one big, scary man.
 

harperjones99

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Nov 3, 2009
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It's funny to me how gay people identify themselves so much based on their sexuality. Straight people don't go around telling people they are straight or needing to get some sort of validation. Lee posts often about his 'gayness' yet I don't see other posting about their sexuality. Seems he has a need to display this and force people to give a crap.

Most people could care less who you love or sleep with...it is when you can't shut up about it that it becomes annoying. Kind of like seeing people making out in a waiting room or something, it's irritating no matter straight, gay, etc. That's because some things like sexuality are preferred by most to be private matters not the main topic of discussion daily.

It's not an issue until people make it one by harping on and on about it. I am sure most people would say "so what?" if they heard someone they know is gay. Gay people often seem to want some gold star for telling everyone. Stop identifying yourselves by your sexuality and everyone else will too.
 

Rt&Dzine

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2008
736
5
It's funny to me how gay people identify themselves so much based on their sexuality. Straight people don't go around telling people they are straight or needing to get some sort of validation. Lee posts often about his 'gayness' yet I don't see other posting about their sexuality. Seems he has a need to display this and force people to give a crap.

Most people could care less who you love or sleep with...it is when you can't shut up about it that it becomes annoying. Kind of like seeing people making out in a waiting room or something, it's irritating no matter straight, gay, etc. That's because some things like sexuality are preferred by most to be private matters not the main topic of discussion daily.

It's not an issue until people make it one by harping on and on about it. I am sure most people would say "so what?" if they heard someone they know is gay. Gay people often seem to want some gold star for telling everyone. Stop identifying yourselves by your sexuality and everyone else will too.
Yeah, gays should just keep their mouths shut and let society dictate how they should live their lives. :rolleyes:
 

leekohler

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Dec 22, 2004
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It's funny to me how gay people identify themselves so much based on their sexuality. Straight people don't go around telling people they are straight or needing to get some sort of validation. Lee posts often about his 'gayness' yet I don't see other posting about their sexuality. Seems he has a need to display this and force people to give a crap.

Most people could care less who you love or sleep with...it is when you can't shut up about it that it becomes annoying. Kind of like seeing people making out in a waiting room or something, it's irritating no matter straight, gay, etc. That's because some things like sexuality are preferred by most to be private matters not the main topic of discussion daily.

It's not an issue until people make it one by harping on and on about it. I am sure most people would say "so what?" if they heard someone they know is gay. Gay people often seem to want some gold star for telling everyone. Stop identifying yourselves by your sexuality and everyone else will too.
And I'm going to stop you right there. Straight people never announce their sexuality to the world? Are you F***ING kidding me?!! :eek::mad: It's a constant barrage, dude! Do you not watch TV, read the paper, notice advertising, receive wedding invites, see straight couples holding hands in the street, notice your coworkers family photos at the office, etc? Heterosexuality is announced EVERYWHERE and OFTEN. When's the last time you saw gay couples holding hands in the street on a regular basis? Huh?

Do you not also notice the threads all over this forum such as "post your celebrity crush", etc?

Difference is- you don't get denied certain rights and privileges because of it. You don't have anything you need to fight for. The other difference is that it makes you uncomfortable for whatever reason, you just admitted that. You don't care if people are gay, you just don't want to know about it. Why? Because it's different and not the norm.

WTF is that all about? I'll tell you- it's your problem, not ours. Deal with it.
 

GfPQqmcRKUvP

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2005
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It's funny to me how gay people identify themselves so much based on their sexuality. Straight people don't go around telling people they are straight or needing to get some sort of validation.
That's definitely not true. When I'm with my friends and we see a really gorgeous girl walk by we let each other know. Straight people (and I'm one) constantly validate themselves. You just can't see the difference.

Straight Situation:

Hot girl walks by
Guy: She's hot
You: Definitely.

Gay Situation

Hot guy walks by
Guy: He's hot
You: ugghh, keep that to yourself, stop announcing it to the world

Seriously, you see a couple holding hands in public and it's normal. You see a gay couple holding hands and you react negatively to it and think they're trying to force their beliefs on the rest of the world.


Most people could care less who you love or sleep with...it is when you can't shut up about it that it becomes annoying.
You know what's annoying? Knowing that people do discriminate against gay people based on who they love or sleep with. There goes you theory about "most people could care less" (when you meant to say "couldn't anyway). If people truly didn't care they'd let them marry and wouldn't beat them up and yell obscenities at them in many parts of the country.
 

leekohler

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Dec 22, 2004
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That's definitely not true. When I'm with my friends and we see a really gorgeous girl walk by we let each other know. Straight people (and I'm one) constantly validate themselves. You just can't see the difference.

Straight Situation:

Hot girl walks by
Guy: She's hot
You: Definitely.

Gay Situation

Hot guy walks by
Guy: He's hot
You: ugghh, keep that to yourself, stop announcing it to the world

Seriously, you see a couple holding hands in public and it's normal. You see a gay couple holding hands and you react negatively to it and think they're trying to force their beliefs on the rest of the world.




You know what's annoying? Knowing that people do discriminate against gay people based on who they love or sleep with. There goes you theory about "most people could care less" (when you meant to say "couldn't anyway). If people truly didn't care they'd let them marry and wouldn't beat them up and yell obscenities at them in many parts of the country.
Everybody loves Badandy. :)
 

Queso

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Mar 4, 2006
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WTF is that all about? I'll tell you- it's your problem, not ours. Deal with it.
+1. Seriously. Anyone that says straights don't announce their sexuality isn't paying attention. It happens constantly, every day.
 

mscriv

macrumors 601
Aug 14, 2008
4,911
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It's funny to me how gay people identify themselves so much based on their sexuality. Straight people don't go around telling people they are straight or needing to get some sort of validation. Lee posts often about his 'gayness' yet I don't see other posting about their sexuality. Seems he has a need to display this and force people to give a crap.

Most people could care less who you love or sleep with...it is when you can't shut up about it that it becomes annoying. Kind of like seeing people making out in a waiting room or something, it's irritating no matter straight, gay, etc. That's because some things like sexuality are preferred by most to be private matters not the main topic of discussion daily.

It's not an issue until people make it one by harping on and on about it. I am sure most people would say "so what?" if they heard someone they know is gay. Gay people often seem to want some gold star for telling everyone. Stop identifying yourselves by your sexuality and everyone else will too.
Let's tap the breaks there Harper. I understand your point and have even asked similar questions myself in other threads. However, it is really not cool to attack another forum member no matter how much you disagree or do not understand their perspective.

Lee and I have differing views on a variety of issues, but by engaging in open minded and respectful discussions we have developed a friendship. When you talk with your fellow forum members with the goal of seeking to better understand who they are and why they feel the way they do then you come away from the debate having built a relationship, not having built a wall between yourself and someone else.

Think about it.
 

harperjones99

macrumors 6502
Nov 3, 2009
497
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Think about it.
I have no interest in discussing anything with him because I have seen how he reacts to anyone who doesn't "praise the gayness". His post above to me illustrates this well. "Deal with it" etc....:rolleyes: People like that are not interested in getting to know you but rather forcing their view on you. They act like everyone who doesn't agree with them is a homophobe (and term that doesn't even fit as not liking/agreeing with something and being scared of it are two different things)

And to the person who busted me saying "could care less" when I clearly meant "couldn't care less"....you do know that is like nagging someone about a typo right? Annoying and makes you look like a pedantic weenie.

And I'm going to stop you right there.

WTF is that all about? I'll tell you- it's your problem, not ours. Deal with it.
You aren't going to stop anything Darth. And it seems it is far more of a problem for you. In fact it's a minor annoyance to me at best but most of the time unless it's thrown in my face I don't give two craps about people's sexual orientation.
 

Rt&Dzine

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2008
736
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I have no interest in discussing anything with him because I have seen how he reacts to anyone who doesn't "praise the gayness". His post above to me illustrates this well. "Deal with it" etc....:rolleyes: People like that are not interested in getting to know you but rather forcing their view on you.
So you're just making personal attacks against Lee and you have no interest in his response.
 

GfPQqmcRKUvP

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2005
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Terminus
And to the person who busted me saying "could care less" when I clearly meant "couldn't care less"....you do know that is like nagging someone about a typo right? Annoying and makes you look like a pedantic weenie.
It's a pet peeve of mine, and something that might be worth correcting on your part considering it is wrong. In any case, I only devoted a single clause to it so it wasn't that important to me. But moving on, would you mind addressing the rest of my post?

And leekohler is correct, it seems you do have a problem despite your strong objections; it's pretty apparent by reading your initial post in this thread. The gay people I know don't shove their gayness in everyone's face, the problem is with the people who aren't comfortable with it who think it's being shoved in their face.
 

Gelfin

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Sep 18, 2001
2,166
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(and term that doesn't even fit as not liking/agreeing with something and being scared of it are two different things)
No, psychologically a phobia is an irrational aversion, which can take the form of a fear response but is not required to. "Homophobia" just means you have a problem with gay people, which you very much seem to.

It's funny to me how gay people identify themselves so much based on their sexuality. Straight people don't go around telling people they are straight or needing to get some sort of validation.
Several posters have already pointed out that lots of straight people emphasize their sexuality. It's an almost stereotypically male thing to do, to loudly and obnoxiously proclaim one's intense need to insert one's penis in this or that passing woman to one's friends. If he doesn't? They think he's gay. It is practically required for young men to define themselves by their heterosexuality.

This is certainly not to suggest that many young men do not participate enthusiastically, but let a gay guy do likewise, and all of a sudden it's all about your face and, in a metaphor so Freudian and ubiquitous I can't help laughing, what you imagine is being shoved into it.

There are those, however, both gay and straight, who find that doesn't suit them. The last thing they want is for the first thing people think of when their names come up to be how they obtain their orgasms. The difference between them, however, is that the straight man can casually mention "my wife" or "my girlfriend" without that happening. The gay man has only the choices to be "in the closet" or "in your face," because if he casually mentions "my husband" or "my boyfriend," it's all over. To many people Gareth Thomas will never again be an accomplished athlete; he will be that gay guy who plays rugby.

He doesn't define himself entirely by his sexuality. You do.
 

mscriv

macrumors 601
Aug 14, 2008
4,911
586
Dallas, Texas
I have no interest in discussing anything with him because I have seen how he reacts to anyone who doesn't "praise the gayness". His post above to me illustrates this well. "Deal with it" etc....:rolleyes: People like that are not interested in getting to know you but rather forcing their view on you. They act like everyone who doesn't agree with them is a homophobe (and term that doesn't even fit as not liking/agreeing with something and being scared of it are two different things)
C'mon Harper, seriously. The overwhelming majority of sexuality discussions here on MR happen in the PRSI which is a forum set up for such things. Although I won't say it hasn't ever happened, I can't recall ever seeing any member, homosexual or heterosexual bring up sexuality randomly in a thread about something else. They may make an analogy, but they don't proclaim their sexuality in an attempt to "praise their orientation". Honestly, have you seen this:

Title: Which Mac Laptop to Buy. Please Help.

MAC NEWBIE: Hi all, I'm buying my first mac and found this forum by doing some online research. Which laptop do you think would be best for a college student studying graphic design? Do I really need to go all out and get a MBP? Any advice would help.

MR MEMBER: Hi Mac Newbie, welcome to MacRumors. If your going into graphics work then you might want to consider getting a 15" or 17" MBPro just to have the bigger screen and the more powerful graphics card. By the way, I'm a (insert sexual orientation of preference here) and I really enjoy having sex with (insert gender of sexual desire here). If you're not of the same persuasion as me then you might want to give it a try. Thanks again for joining MacRumors and I hope to see you around the forums. Feel free to ask any other questions you might have whether it be about your mac purchase or my sexuality. :)
Let's at least be real as opposed to using the broad generalizations you are stating as fact. Is there a lot of sexuality discussion on these forums, YES. Does it take place in the general forums as people try to proselytize others, NO. Regardless of your views on this issue, is it okay to personally attack/slander other forum members, NO. If you don't like certain members or certain subject matters than avoid them. Remember, you control that to which you are exposed.

I apologize to any who may now be cleaning their screens due to the resulting projectile spittle that occurred while laughing during the reading of my sarcasm which was intended to show how ridiculous Harper's argument is.
 

thegoldenmackid

macrumors 604
Dec 29, 2006
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dallas, texas
It's funny to me how gay people identify themselves so much based on their sexuality. Straight people don't go around telling people they are straight or needing to get some sort of validation.
While my screen is still clean, I definitely shook my head. How many straight people live any portion of their lives being in the closet? Unless you are referring to heterosexuals that live in a physical closet, I'm not thinking many. As mscriv alluded to - it's painful to see not only the hate, but the ridiculousness that some people feel.

Athletes coming out of the closet, especially in a sport like rugby, is a big deal. It will stop becoming a big deal when society grows up and learns to accept people for who they are, a world that I imagine you (harperjones99) would not like. People will stop caring about our first black president, our first female candidate and our first homosexual rugby star when they accept differences and those barriers have been shattered numerous times. Until that world comes to fruition - it's going to be news and it should be discussed so that people can accept differences. People can still disagree with the decision and accept it: look to mscriv if you need an example.
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,743
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... a world that I imagine you (harperjones99) would not like. People will stop caring about our first black president, our first female candidate and our first homosexual rugby star when they accept differences and those barriers have been shattered numerous times.
In a world I imagine none of the above would be seen as different and would not need to be seen as barriers. In other words, we'll stop hearing about the first, black, woman, homosexual, fat, tall, short, etc. and we'll get on with more important things. That will likely never happen so keep thinking, dressing, acting like everyone else as that is what people thrive on.
Until that world comes to fruition - it's going to be news and it should be discussed so that people can accept differences. People can still disagree with the decision and accept it: look to mscriv if you need an example.
This is never, and will never be, discussed so people can accept differences, it is discussed so people can debate and hopefully get their point across and hopefully win.

The reaction to these things is sad.
 

leekohler

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Original poster
Dec 22, 2004
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Chicago, Illinois
I have no interest in discussing anything with him because I have seen how he reacts to anyone who doesn't "praise the gayness". His post above to me illustrates this well. "Deal with it" etc....:rolleyes: People like that are not interested in getting to know you but rather forcing their view on you. They act like everyone who doesn't agree with them is a homophobe (and term that doesn't even fit as not liking/agreeing with something and being scared of it are two different things)
I don't give a s*** what you think of me. I don't have the power to change your mind and I don't care to try. You don't care to try either. And we aren't going away, so you do have to deal with it.

What I do care about is making sure people like you don't pass laws against people like us. And the only way to do that is to come out and let people see we aren't the boogeymen the right tries to make us.

And do you disagree with people being black, blue-eyed or asian? No? Then how the hell do you disagree with people being gay?

And to the person who busted me saying "could care less" when I clearly meant "couldn't care less"....you do know that is like nagging someone about a typo right? Annoying and makes you look like a pedantic weenie.
Look who has to resort to name-calling.

You aren't going to stop anything Darth. And it seems it is far more of a problem for you. In fact it's a minor annoyance to me at best but most of the time unless it's thrown in my face I don't give two craps about people's sexual orientation.
Oh, hell yes I am. I'm gonna stop people like you from trying to shut us up and shove us back in the closet. You don't like us talking? Tough s***.

And how exactly is this thread throwing anything in your face? You didn't have to come in here and read it, did you? You made the choice to do that. If people simply discussing a subject is "throwing it in your face", then it is not us with a problem. Go back and read Badandy's post- that illustrates you perfectly.

No, psychologically a phobia is an irrational aversion, which can take the form of a fear response but is not required to. "Homophobia" just means you have a problem with gay people, which you very much seem to.



Several posters have already pointed out that lots of straight people emphasize their sexuality. It's an almost stereotypically male thing to do, to loudly and obnoxiously proclaim one's intense need to insert one's penis in this or that passing woman to one's friends. If he doesn't? They think he's gay. It is practically required for young men to define themselves by their heterosexuality.

This is certainly not to suggest that many young men do not participate enthusiastically, but let a gay guy do likewise, and all of a sudden it's all about your face and, in a metaphor so Freudian and ubiquitous I can't help laughing, what you imagine is being shoved into it.

There are those, however, both gay and straight, who find that doesn't suit them. The last thing they want is for the first thing people think of when their names come up to be how they obtain their orgasms. The difference between them, however, is that the straight man can casually mention "my wife" or "my girlfriend" without that happening. The gay man has only the choices to be "in the closet" or "in your face," because if he casually mentions "my husband" or "my boyfriend," it's all over. To many people Gareth Thomas will never again be an accomplished athlete; he will be that gay guy who plays rugby.

He doesn't define himself entirely by his sexuality. You do.
Read this again, harper. It's the truth.