Today might go down in history as “gay sports day” as two sports stars came out as gay.
In the UK, Rugby player, Keegan Hirst, 27, came out exclusively to the Sunday Mirror, whilst over the US baseball rookie David Denson, 20, came out. Both are the first in their respective sports to have come out as gay during their careers.
“Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them,” Denson told the newspaper. “They said, ‘You’re still our teammate. You’re still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You’re still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don’t treat you any different. We’ve got your back.’
“That was a giant relief for me. I never wanted to feel like I was forcing it on them. It just happened. The outcome was amazing. It was nice to know my teammates see me for who I am, not my sexuality.”
Hirst becomes the first British rugby player to come out as gay during his career. The 27-year-old, who told his wife just weeks ago he was gay, said,
“At first I couldn’t even say ‘I’m gay’ in my head, let alone out loud.
“Now I feel like I’m letting out a long breath that I’ve held in for a long time.”
Remarking on Hirst’s decision to come out as gay LGBT advocacy charity, Stonewall said his words were “powerful” and that his words “will inspire many”.
Former Rugby icon Gareth Thomas tweeted his support for Hirst saying,
— Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas14) August 16, 2015
Taking to Twitter Hirst said he was “humbled” by the best wishes and he “appreciated” the outpouring of support shown by players and fans of the club.
I'd just like to say a big thankyou to everybody who's taken the time to send all these best wishes.It's very humbling and much appreciated.
— Keegan Hirst (@KeeganHirst) August 16, 2015