Batley, West Riding of Yorkshire – Keegan Hirst, who is the current captain of Batley Bulldogs, has come out as gay recently,.
The British rugby player received an overwhelming support from his fellow sportsmen and loving fans after coming out. News of his sexuality reached the public just a few hours before he played in a match.
In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, he said that he has done jobs such as factory worker, doorman, builder, and now he plays rugby. He said that he had a wife and two kids, and that he is a Batley member. So, how could he be gay? Well, he said that when he stepped on the ruby pitch he felt free.
Now that he is free, he is very thankful of the support he gets from the people around him. He wrote on Twitter: “I’d just like to say a big thank you to everybody who’s taken the time to send all these best wishes. It’s very humbling and much appreciated.”
Proof of love and support are the tweets from his teammates Alex Bretherton, Alistair Leak, and Scott Leatherbarrow. Leak tweeted: “Nothing but respect @KeeganHirst great captain, great bloke, great film knowledge.” As it seems, Keegan Hirst has nothing to worry about his coming out.
The Sheffield Eagles is a major sports team to first tackle the issue and campaign against homophobia. That is why, Lou Englefield said, the rugby team’s efforts to tackle homophobia is a huge influence in Keegan’s coming out. Englefield, who is the current director of Pride Sports, also sent her support and congratulations to Hirst. She said that it is tough to come out in a very macho northern sport.
Keegan Hirst is expected to inspire others who are also part of macho environments or groups such as sports teams. Today, the efforts of various organizations has resulted to several significant victories such as the issuance of gay inclusion guide to rugby sports clubs.