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Video: Gareth Thomas tells Ellen he ‘prayed to be straight’

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  1. I think it’s highly corageous that Gareth Thomas has found the strength to come out. I’m even happier that he’s found acceptance from those around him (by god I feel sorry for his ex-wife the most).

    But it’s odd and slightly scary to think that he had to drink lots and start fights in an attempt to convince himself that he was straight.

    Straight men don’t usually go out to bars and have fights to prove their masculinity.

  2. Mihangel apYrs 5 Jan 2011, 10:52am

    not really courageous:
    1 – his sexuality wasn’t as secret as he may have thought

    2 – his international career was coming to an end

    3 – had he come out sooner he could have been a better role model

    4 – he had a right to hide his sexuality, but he has no right to accept accolades of “bravery”. He’s able to come out now because of all the work put in by unnamed “heroes and heroines”. The activists and ordinary gays that his team mates were probably jeering at on their nights out

    Celebraty “comings-out” are often self-serving. Whether that’s the case here is for others to judge

  3. You see I’ve just spoken to a friend who was in the know with regards to Gareth Thomas. Apparently he was out on the scene for years and leading a double life. I had no idea and it has discoloured my view somewhat.

    However, I can’t help but feel a couple of your points are a little cynical and while I do understand accept them I am still of the belief that it’s still very difficult for men and women who feel they can’t come out and then go into a heterosexual relationship. It’s brave to come out but even moreso after years of denial – I stand by that.

  4. I agree with Danny. To admit you were wrong, to feel the guilt of hurting your spouse, to lay yourself open to charges like “You must have known – you were being deceitful/stupid” etc can’t be easy.

    I used to find gay people who got married to someone of the opposite sex incomprehensible. After getting to know a very dear gay man who did just this, I realised that for some people coming out is very hard, usually through no fault of their own.

  5. The Lizzie 12 5 Jan 2011, 12:05pm

    No disrespect intended to Mr T, but some of us have been out and proud for years, working on the ‘front line’ of our communities with little or no recogntion. Then a rugby star ‘comes out’ and he’s all over the shop. I don’t mind, but I would appreciate it if the media – LGBT and otherwise – were more inclusive in their portrayal of our community.

  6. Jock S. Trap 5 Jan 2011, 12:38pm

    Its all down to the attitudes around you. If those attitudes are repressive, that automatically builds up a wall, usually in denial. It’s a cruel way to be treated because it doesn’t allow yourself to be who you are. Breaking that cycle can be very hard. The not knowing how you’ll be seen. Knowing you’ll probably lose people who called themself friends. To feel isolated about who you are is bad enough. You don’t see that they weren’t actually friends. The ones who stick around are, plus the new friends to be made.

    This is why education is schools showing Gay & Lesbian relationships just as important as Straight couples is most important. I know it probably wouldn’t happen but I wish this government would stop Labours Amendment 70 allowing religious schools to discriminate because this is about human development and a basic human right to be allowed to be who you are.

    @ The Lizzie 12

    Whilst media coverage may seem hyped towards some and not others, at least it is being reported. I came out very young against the background of extremely religious parents. Luckily they became very supportive. However too many people will recognise Gareth Thomas’s story and see it in themselves. To see how he came through it and now lives his life will be an inspiration to some maybe many. If that helps just one person to confront the demons around them then Mr. Thomas’s story has been worth reporting. People need to know that not everyone finds it easy to come out. That is mostly societies fault and not down to the individual.

  7. I have to agree with Iris and Jock Strap, while I continue to deplore gays who are as gay friendly as a snake bite.

  8. Lizzie, being OUT and active is very easy for some men and women. However, some do not find it that easy and do struggle.

    As Jock has said, this story can only be positive because it highlights a very real issue amonst many closeted gay men and women and it might go just a small way in helping others accept who they are.

    He is a high profile figure now and whatever his reasons are for coming out he is a presence and that can only be a good thing.

  9. I found that quite painful.he talks about changing the world. Maybe he should set his sights a bit lower and raise the profile of UK organisations like the Albert Kennedy trust or the food chain. He has done nothing to earn my respect hes a celeb

  10. I think it does more harm than good when gay public figures go on and on about how much they hated being gay, prayed not to be gay and did everything in their power to stop being gay.

    No matter what follows that the message, to young gay people and others struggling with their sexuality, is loud and clear that homosexuality is something horrible, detestable and worthy of shame even if some people find a way to live with it and carry on.

    I really wish people would be more careful in what they say; thinking more about the mindset of listeners.

  11. Jock S. Trap 5 Jan 2011, 2:54pm

    @ Hayden

    If anything it shows thats what some in society think. When your in that crowd your left thinking all think it. Whilst it’s not pleasant to hear it is important to let others know not only thats how they treat Gay and Lesbians but that others, like them, feel it too.

    It also shows the importance of hearing stories of how people like Mr. Thomas came out. It may go someway in helping others see an easier way forward.

    The horrible bit is how other Gay/Lesbians feel and associate themselves with. Therefore its vital to make those points no matter how difficult they appear, then equally as important to show the turning point and result.

    People need to see that what they feel means they are far from alone.

    People need to know that not all of society thinks nasty of them in fact more people think positive of them. That is the why the need because then and only then will those people hopefully, finally find peace within themselves and head for a better open life.

  12. I pray every night that Gareth Thomas will be in my bed when I wake up in the morning. PRAYING DOESN’T WORK.

    @ Hayden, he’s just telling people how it was for him. I don ‘t think anyone with more than one brain cell would think all gay people have it the same.

  13. I think what is important here is to look at his story and take away the following:

    1) He struggled with his sexualtiy (as many of us did/do)
    2) He made the choice that being honest with himself and the world was better than lying.
    3) He’s publicly acknowledging that some of the things he did when younger he’s not proud of and is now trying to rectify his mistakes.
    3) He’s using his celebrity to help others, especially young people find a way that they can come out and find a better life for themselves through honesty
    4) He’s educating people, especially young straight and gay men, that anyone can be gay, even rough, tough rugby players and that they are equally as valid as a straight person.

    None of us have lived his life, so we can’t really know what pressures he had or imagined he had. He’s trying to do the right thing now and from some of the things i have seen or heard of him doing, he’s having a positive impact for the community.

  14. de Villiers 5 Jan 2011, 7:20pm

    > I pray every night that Gareth Thomas will be in my bed when I wake up in the morning. PRAYING DOESN’T WORK.

    Perhaps God thinks you’ve not deserved it ;-)

  15. Mihangel apYrs – I agree.

    I feel sorry for his wife too. He broke her heart. He seems to acknowledge that he used her to help himself become straight. It grates on me. Now I know all the arguments about societal pressures to marry etc, but in the end you have to take responsibility for the decisions you make which radically affect other ppl’s lives, like proposing to your girlfriend. He knew he was gay for a long time. How can you do that ? Not courageous in my book.

  16. So Cypher, what’s your point then? yes, he made a stupid decision and got married. Are you saying that he should have put up and shut up and stay in the closet?

    You seem to be criticising his decison to be honest with his wife, family and the world by coming out. By inference you also seem to be criticisng his decision to use his celebrity to help stop other people feeling that they need to make the same mistake he did. How does disagreeing with that help anyone?

    His wife has said she loves and respects him, so if she hasn’t got a problem with what happened, why should anyone else?

  17. He’s certainly going to be more successful than his straight counterparts back in Llanelli or wherever he came from…an interview with Ellen degenere , a movie on your life, what next… let’s hope other “stars” come out and realise what a success it can be to be “gay”…it’s not that bad out of the closet is it Gareth and it can’t be that bad for all of us also to show the world that even butch rugby stars can be “gay”..

  18. wonderuf that he has such accepting parents, who may well have known his secret.

    I’ve met a lot of gay people, and am very careful not to pry into their personal lives, often which have been horror shows.

    Despite that, I’ve met 12 or 13, mostly men, who were conventionally married for from 2-20 yrs, and finally gave it up. some are still best friend with the ex and some even helped the ex remarry.

    Why did they marry convetnionally – ” best story = I was the 3rd of 5 boys, it was my turn. Societal pressure. And my wife knew I was gay, etc etc.

    And yet it still didnt work.

  19. Jock S. Trap 6 Jan 2011, 9:29am

    @ cypher

    He got married because like many others thats what ‘soclety’ expected from him.

    This is why it’s another reason that marriage is made equal for all. If you fall in love with someone and society expects you to marry then Gay/Lesbians should have the choice to do so just like everyone else.

    Don’t want to disappoint now do we. ;)

  20. Actually Cypher, people get married for all manner of wrong reasons. It’s not black and white.

    My partner was married to a woman and always identified as bisexual with a growing inclination that he was actually gay. He did something very brave and corageous and put up with a lot of grief from his family and lost friends – and he was a rough and tough rugby player too.

    However, he was committed to his wife and family and never strayed when they were together – now that takes balls.

    Let’s not forget that with a lot of men sexuality may not develop until much later in life. We should remember that.

  21. Coming out is a deeply personal thing, and each of us is unique and different. We are, each of us, unique individuals; and we each live in unique circumstances. I first came out in 2004 at the age of 55 – talk about leaving it a bit late, BUT that was the right and correct circumstance for me, and it’s the height of impertinance for someone else, who is ignorant of my circumstances, to pass judgement. I, and ONLY I, am qualified to look back and comment on whether or not I should have done it sooner. Likewise Gareth Thomas is the ONLY person qualified to pass judgement on his own actions.
    Yes, I do wish I could have done it earlier, but ultimately such wishes are about as much use as the legless man wishing he was the Olympic 100m Gold Medallist – they are but fanciful notions that never had any basis in possibility!

  22. I agree coming out when your career is just about over, is hardly courageous . . .

    However, I will forgive him since he is such a sexy guy

    Any way Is coming out not lunacy in sport, especailly when the culture is so macho, and aggressively heterosexual.

  23. Surely anyone coming out and telling their story is a step in the right direction for the LGBT community, Shouldn’t we stick together and support any ‘coming out’ story, I am highly unlikely to get to voice my story on ‘Ellen’ so it is up to our celebs and stars to do this.

    The more often the world sees we’re normal people and not a stereotype, the less homophobia and harrassment we will suffer, its a long journey and I hope for more closeted people to make themselves heard when it is right for them, its the only way we will see an end to homophobia and heterosexism. But we have to stick together and support each :)

  24. BRAVO!

  25. Mihangel apYrs

    – well said mate!

  26. my point Nick is not that he shouldve stayed in the closet. my point is that, as he had known (and i quote) “for the best part of 25 yrs” that he was gay; i.e. since he was young teen; there was no gradual discovery and therefore he should not have married. Yes, ppl do get married for all sorts of reasons but generally you can assume that the (hetero)sexuality of your partner isnt part of the equation.

    As for staying in the closet, he admitted that had one of the 3 pregnancies that his wife sadly miscarried actually been successful, he would have stayed in the closet. As she said, he wanted to remain married to her whilst “exploring” his sexuality. A wife and marriage is not some sort of personal social experiment…. Dont get me wrong, I like the guy and what he is doing (contrary to your rather absurd inference) it doesnt change the facts…And lets face it, if this was a tory mp or an aging tv presenter we were talking about, they wouldnt be getting the accolades; ppl would be singing a very different tune. But being a hot hunky fantasy makes all the difference right?

  27. Go Gareeeeeeth!

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