Pro rugby player Sam Stanley has come out as gay.

Sam Stanley, 23, has become the first English pro rugby union player to come out as gay. His announcement follows Keegan Hirst’s coming out, which happened just a few weeks ago.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Stanley said,

“I was 10 or 11 when I realised I was different to my friends.

“I didn’t want to accept it, I felt that being different wasn’t right. I had a girlfriend and I was thinking that, like some people say, maybe it is a phase.”

Stanley went on to say: “Millions of people are in the situation, even people who have been in [his partner] Laurence’s situation and they are still married but are gay. They cannot accept it themselves.

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“It is going to be an issue until more people and athletes come out, until it is not an issue at all. It might take years but hopefully lots of people will find the courage.”