Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Last Major Taboo

Today Gareth Thomas of the Cardiff Blues, a one time Wales international and a former member of the British and Irish Lions squad, has revealed to the world that he is gay. 

So what's the big deal?  Well, to be honest it really shouldn't be a big deal at all.  Just because Thomas has revealed he prefers Arthur to Martha doesn't mean that he's suddenly going to start mincing around on the pitch and take up flower arranging.  Although even if he does, so what?

Thomas playing for the Blues

The fact that Thomas' announcement is such big news shows that coming out as a gay sportsman is a big deal.  That's because announcing you are gay in the macho and muscle-packed world of sport is one of the last major sporting taboos.  Why is this?  I can only deduce it's because rugby (along with other sports) contains a lot of narrow-minded bigots brimming with testosterone, who mistakenly believe that any gay team mate will try to mount them as soon as they strip off to wash their hairy arses in the showers.  Seriously guys, get real.

In his interview with the Daily Mail, Thomas said:
"Just because you are gay, it doesn't mean you fancy every man that walks the planet... I don't want to be known as a gay rugby player.  I am a rugby player first and foremost.  I am a man."

Quite right Gareth.

Still, all credit to him, and from what I've seen on the BBC 606 message boards most people are giving him their full support.  Well, apart from the odd sprinkling of bigots who tend to make such a big deal of this sort of thing in the first place.

Thomas isn't the first sportsman to be honest about his sexuality, as hurling's Donal Og Cusack and basketball's John Amaechi recently decided to tell their world about their homosexuality.  Quite why players have to 'come out' in the first place mystifies me though, unless it's a way of shaking off their mental baggage and allowing them to focus on their game.

Therefore, all credit to Gareth Thomas for stepping out of the closet, although please do bear a thought for his ex-wife Jemma who is being forced to witness her private life being dragged through the media.  That really can't be very nice for her.  Maybe the media intrusion into matters like this should be the last major taboo...

1 comment:

  1. Bamberio, you beat me to the punch-I was going to throw in my two cents worth on the subject.

    It takes a lot of guts for anybody to come out. Here in the US, there are very, very few American Football players, Hockey players, baseball and and basketball players who have come out of the closet. Homophobia is alive and well and rampant in most sports.

    I like your sentiment about the former Mrs.'s one thing to lose your man to another woman(or dozen, in the case of Tiger Woods), but how can you compete when your man realizes that he is gay? At any rate, it seems to be a bigger deal with male athletes compared to women athletes-where there is almost a reverse bias that any athletic, muscular woman MUST be a lesbian.