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Saturday, 19 December 2009

Coming out in sport

What a state we’re in when a person has to go through what this rugby player had to go through just because he’s gay.

The whole sorry saga is reported by the BBC, which tells how the former Wales and Lions rugby captain Gareth Thomas “has broken one of the major taboos that surround sport” by revealing he is gay.

The 35-year-old joins stars like basketball’s John Amaechi and hurling’s Donal Og Cusack who have come out.

“Just because you are gay, it doesn’t mean you fancy every man who walks the planet,” Thomas told the Daily Mail.

And of course he’s right. But to hear antigay bigots speak you’d think that homosexuality was different from heterosexuality in that hetties are discriminating in whom they fancy while homos just fancy anything male that has a pulse. And that just isn’t so, of course.

The story tells of how Thomas approached the coach, the coach approached some players and the players eventually said it was no big deal.

But the fact that Thomas had had to go through all that palaver, all that agonising, speaks volumes for the sort of society we’re living in, in which it’s still taboo to be gay. And that’s largely down to religious bigots of the Right-most tendencies, who seem to think it’s anything to do with them what a guy does with his bits and pieces.

Well done, Gareth Thomas! Pity it had to be an issue at all.

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