Rugby is one of the most physical, most “typically male” sports you can get. When the players touch and tackle each other, there is no protective wear like in (American) football.
Gareth Thomas is a rugby legend. “Alfie”, that huge fullback from Wales, completely fits into the picture you may have of rugby players. Maybe except for one thing: He’s gay.
Thomas came out three weeks ago, surprising everybody and filling the tabloids not only in Wales.
He said some quite remarkable things about his life as a gay rugby player and about why he waited with his coming out until the end of his career: “Rugby was my passion, my whole life, and I wasn’t prepared to risk losing everything I loved.”
Seems like he did not expect people involved in rugby could just take it easy once they found out.
With the statistical percentage of people being homosexual, most probably on nearly every rugby or soccer team there is at least one homosexually oriented player, in huge teams like the ones in (American) football probably two or three on average.
How many have you heard of? None? There you go!
Whenever that topic is discussed I feel a bit unsure. Not because of my position on homosexuality but because of having to have a position on homosexuality at all.
I don’t have a position on people preferring slow sex, hard sex, no sex, sex with multiple partners, sex on their own, etc. As long as it is legal, not harming anyone else and agreed on by all people involved, I don’t care. So why should I care about the gender of someone else’s sexual partners?
“What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby” (Gareth Thomas)
That’s rugby, pretty far away for someone living in a country that will never be a major force in this sport. But how about the organization you work in? Probably the percentages of homosexuals is comparable and probably every day you interact with gays and lesbians, and most probably some of you reading this of this blog are gay or lesbian as well.
Are you sure you don’t care? What’s your reaction when you hear some people backbiting about a co-worker that “he must be gay”. How do you react?
I know it is a tough one and I stated before that I feel kind of unsure on how to react. I want the topic not to be a topic anymore, but in order to advance this development I believe we have to make it a topic when encountering stupidity and discrimination. Let’s all speak up so we don’t have to speak up anymore in the near future. In the office, in the stadium, anywhere.
I leave the final words to Gareth Thomas:
“I don’t want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player first and foremost. I am a man.”