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Gareth Thomas: I previously took part in anti-gay jokes and prayed rugby could turn me straight

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  1. Georg Friedrich Prinz von Preussen 17 Jan 2013, 4:21pm

    He was not alone. Its what Prince Charles did every day too.

    1. Georg Friedrich Prinz von Preussen 17 Jan 2013, 9:46pm

      Only difference, of course, that for Prince of Wales it was polo, not rugby. And old horse by name ‘Camilla’.

  2. Without wishing to detract from the importance of Gareth’s ‘coming out’ and the difficulties he faced, when are we going to see a TV programme that features a gay man (or range of gay men) who always knew they were gay and were always honest with themselves and their family/friends? We come in all shapes and sizes and from very different backgrounds & this should be reflected more often.

    1. Suddenly Last Bummer 17 Jan 2013, 5:24pm

      You mean ‘regular’ gay guys? We do exist except tv and film would prefer to show us as campy hysterical idiots like Rylan Clark or someone like Rupert Everett suggests in his interviews that we’re all a bit furtive, drug addled and tortured by boarding school events or religion.

  3. ‘course you did, lovey! 99.9% of ALL homophobia is about self-hatred, projected onto others. If only people understood this mechanism better, homophobes would be VERY foolish to continue doing it.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jan 2013, 4:50pm

      Maybe that’s why there are so many Tory backbenchers and religious nutters projecting during the equal marriage debate, more than in any other party. After all, they are the loudest aren’t they? Far too much protestation in my view which warrants scrutiny.

      1. Suddenly Last Bummer 17 Jan 2013, 5:26pm

        Now now Robert, I thought South Kensington was a bastion of Toryism?

        1. Shakespeare understood the concept of ‘projection’ VERY well. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” is from Hamlet, Act III, scene II. Someone who is secure in their sexuality would NEVER make homophobic remarks. Bigots will use ANYTHING (particularly the bible) to put people (including themselves) off the scent’

    2. not 99% but I know what you mean

      1. Sorry – what ELSE do you think drives homophobia ….?

  4. Suddenly Last Bummer 17 Jan 2013, 5:21pm

    Don’t care. I’d still do him til we both died of exhaustion.

    1. Bling Crosby 18 Jan 2013, 10:33am

      Floozy.

    2. Your a dirty little pervert.

  5. Marcwebbo3 17 Jan 2013, 5:22pm

    You are not the first nor the last Gareth…I’m afraid to say I have done the same in a previous employment…it’s not something I am proud of but it would’ve been impossible to ‘come out’ in the environment I was in at the time…you are still a good role model though for breaking down stereotypes

    1. Suddenly Last Bummer 17 Jan 2013, 5:27pm

      More pics please Marc!

      1. Bling Crosby 18 Jan 2013, 10:34am

        Trollop.

  6. He’s totally gorgeous and a wonderful example to sports professionals and fans, in my opinion.

  7. His honesty about how societies expectations affected him will strike a chord with many. It’s not just his coming out that is important, but his coming out as a non stereotypical gay man and his candour about how he behaved before that are important. It could result in some reflection on the part of others who are behaving in the same way now?

  8. i find it saddening to think that gay people, of a certain age in UK(?), have gone through a mental process whereby the only conclusion reached is suicide.

    so relieved that it is getting better nowadays; drip by drip, admittedly. i hope gareth is in a happier place, amongst friends… but i still ain’t watching ice skating!

  9. This man gets on my nerves. He isnt some gay role model. Marrying a girl and deceiving her for years is not what makes you a role model to gay kids. Going on and on about his anguish at being gay is boring and I wish that he would shut his trap.

    1. Bravo! That’s what I was (clumsily) trying to get at in my posting (see Lizzie12). That’s why he’s on Channel 5 – where no self-respecting viewer (gay or otherwise) will go! His rugby career is over, he is now making a career out of being the big butch gay man who speaks for all of us…reminds me of Brian Paddick after he left the poliss mens force and did something similar: “Look at me! I am a sexy gay man! I was once staright and married…now I am out and proud and if you pay me lots of dosh…me will speak for all the gays and be a positive role model (as long as I have a healthy bank balance).” Now that’s off me chest I will go and watch my the rest of my DVD box set of Star Trek Voyager.

      1. Oh I know. He really irritates me. I think Anton Heysel is more of a role model than Gareth will ever be. Its a shame that he isnt UK based.

        1. Very nasty James. You obviously have no idea how difficult it was for him to admit to this. Almost more difficult than coming out. Best to keep your vicious thoughts to yourself if you have nothing constructive to say.

          This is very revealing and personal and he didn’t need to make it public. He has gone up even more in my estimation.

          1. I agree, twitless. Some queens fit the bitchy stereotype to a tee.

          2. Sweet & Tender Hooligan 18 Jan 2013, 10:37am

            Cal – you are the bitchy queen. Leave it out.

          3. I am not a bitchy queen in regards to the comment below. I am entitled to my opinion and its a valid one. H eis no gay role model in my eyes. Lads like Anton Heysel are.

          4. Hysén. (Heysel is the Belgian stadium where the Juventus fans died.)

    2. Paul Essex/London 17 Jan 2013, 11:54pm

      Gareth Thomas is a big bruiser of a man who has been very successful in an extremely macho sport.

      His physique and sporting prowess meant that it was easy to deceive those around him about his sexuality. He made the wrong choices and is open and honest about how damaging those choices were.

      As a gay man he breaks every stereotype in the book, so he will get media attention whether he likes it or not. Would you rather that he came out and pretended that living a lie for so many years (including marrying a girl and deceiving her for years) didn’t have any consequences? What kind of a gay role model would he be then?

      1. It perpetuates the myth that all gays are tormented by their sexuality and even deceive a woman or a man (if you are a lesbian) just to fit in.

        Therefore, he doesnt break every stereotype.

        1. Paul Essex/London 19 Jan 2013, 2:35pm

          I’d agree that the tormented gay man who gets married has become a main stay of many popular drama plots, especially soaps. So no he doesn’t break every stereotype, but being a top rugby player who looks like the kind of bouncer you avoid on a Saturday night, he still smashes quite a few.

          There’s the stereotype that all gay men are effeminate, don’t like sport but prefer shopping and interior design i.e. the Sex and The City Gay. That myth serves to prevent a lot of men like Gareth Thomas, who don’t fit anywhere into that mould, from coming out. And also puts pressure on gay men (especially young gay men) that they must behave in a certain way. That’s fine if that’s who you are, but there are those who aren’t and find themselves being something of a caricature to meet other people’s expectations.

          1. I know I get your point. He is masculine and its nice to see that, however it is just the way he has deceived a woman that I have an issue with. I respect Anton Heysel and that Cricket player a lot more.

            I understand your point though. Some young gay lads have an issue with coming out due to the stereotype and they feel like they do not fit that. However, I just dont see a person who shagged blokes being his wife’s back is a role model to these gay kids.

          2. Mate, Im not some fem queen. Im quite a masucline lad myself (not proper manly but Im not obvious so to speak).

            Being a failry masculine lad did not stop me coming out at 15 and it didnt make me shag blokes being a girls back.

          3. Paul Essex/London 21 Jan 2013, 1:30am

            Yes, cheating on his wife with other blokes can’t be condoned. And I don’t respect him for that and if he tried to say that was OK I would see him as a very damaging role model. However, what I do respect him for is being open and honest about the pain it caused both to himself and others, and his ongoing guilt as a result.

            I didn’t opt for a fake straight relationship either. But there are still men and women out there that do that and young gay people who think that getting married is somehow going to turn them straight, or at least stop them from having to deal with their sexuality. And sadly there are many people around them who think that this is exactly what they should do. In a lot of ways those are the people I have a bigger issue with than the ones who marry and then cheat on their wives/husbands. By telling his story he shows that that isn’t right the path to take and that life will only be worse in the long run by hiding behind a fake marriage/straight relationship.

  10. Blimey, only 38! He looks wrecked!

    1. Sweet & Tender Hooligan 18 Jan 2013, 11:06am

      He looks like he should have Oil of Olay on intraveneous drip.

      1. Pointless and unnecessary remarks, both. I don’t know why some people feel the need to live up to the worst stereotypes.

        1. Sweet & Tender Hooligan 19 Jan 2013, 12:33am

          So you’re another of those unfortunate creatures that have had a humour by-pass? Nevermind.

          And why do these two comments make Slodge and I ‘the worst stereotypes’? I’m glad I’m not you.

          1. Why? Pointless and utterly irrelevant spiteful remarks about a person’s appearance, in the obviously mistaken belief that it’s somehow amusing.

            So ditto.

      2. I once knew a rugby player who was also a Judo black belt. One day after training, he pulled out a bottle of Oil Of Ulay (it was then), and applied it after his shower! Much hilarity ensued!

  11. Lion in Winter 18 Jan 2013, 12:09am

    He was once homophobic, and now his feet have seen more ceilings than Michelangelo. So? We’ve heard it all before.

  12. Can we just not thank him for being honest and acting like a good gay role model for those of us that are not bitchy little queens?

    1. Sweet & Tender Hooligan 18 Jan 2013, 11:02am

      So what exactly is the problem you have with ‘bitchy little queens’?

      We are out and in your face.We don’t hide and pretend to be something we are not. Even if we could swagger around belching and farting, swilling beer and behaving like bullies, why on earth should we when we can be the fabulous creations that we are.

      We don’t collude with homophobic colleagues. We laugh at them and their sad little lives/wives/children. We know who we are and we don’t just accept it. We rejoice in our wonderful existence. We don’t despair and consider suicide. We are too busy having fun being ‘bitchy little queens’.

      We don’t trash the lives of others by faking marriage to a woman and raising children. No, we are out at night having as much sex and as much fun as we can and praying each night we don’t turn into people like you Liam.

      In fact Liam, the tone and content of you drivel could well be that of a ‘bitchy little queen’. Come out of your faux straight closet, you know you want to…

      1. Paul Essex/London 18 Jan 2013, 1:31pm

        “We laugh at them and their sad little lives/wives/children.”
        Nice.

        This might be news to you but you can be a fabulous creation without treating the lives of homophobes and their families (they might be idiots but what have their wives or children done to you?) with the same ignorance that they treat you.

        If being the antithesis of everything the stereotypical straight man is is what you are then good for you. But it’s not a requirement of being a gay man, it’s just being you. Let others be who they are. I like to swill beer, belch and fart, it doesn’t mean I’m a bully and it also doesn’t mean I don’t like to mince my way down the street, gossip like fish wife and be a bitchy little queen. Nor does it mean I’m trying to be straight, I won’t pander to anyone’s stereotype, including yours.

        Don’t mock people and accuse them of being in a faux straight closet just because they don’t fit into the pigeon hole of your own preconceptions. You’re trying too hard sweetie.

        1. Well said.

          1. Sweet & Tender Hooligan 19 Jan 2013, 12:11am

            You are simply just trying, sweetie and completely missing the point. Us bitchy little queens don’t pretend we are something we’re not because we are ashamed of being gay and not having the balls to come out. We don’t lie and use subterfuge and cause immeasurable damage to the women duped into marriage by spineless closeted creatures. We don’t father children who have to live with the knowledge that the only reason they exist is because their father was too scared and ashamed of his sexuality.

            If you are proud of belching and farting you obviously have not been brought up properly. And if you think that Gareth Thomas is a hero for stopping lying and deceiving his wife, children and family then there is something very wrong with you.

          2. What a Manichean – and mistaken – view of life you have. There’s no necessity to be a liar and a hypocrite with no social skills on the one hand, or a mean-spirited, spiteful Kenneth Williams manqué on the other. Try being yourself without thinking you’re heroic for living up to a tired stereotype.

            Gareth Thomas doesn’t have any children, does he?

          3. Paul Essex/London 19 Jan 2013, 2:03pm

            I think it’s you who’s missing the point. Just because I don’t share the same views as you about Gareth Thomas doesn’t mean I take the opposite extreme. Just because I’m not bashing him over the head for making the wrong choices, doesn’t mean I think he’s a hero. He made mistakes, and if you watched the programme you’d see how much that haunts him (and rightly so in some cases).

            From early adolescence I decided that wasn’t going to try having a girlfriend because I didn’t want to end up doing what Gareth Thomas did. It doesn’t entitle me to vilify the man because he did, his conscience can do that for him. You seem to put yourself on an ivory tower of gay righteousness (which is completely different to being proud and unashamed of who you are) and can’t deal with anyone who is different to you. That sounds vaguely familiar to some others who choose to persecute people for not conforming to the way they live their own lives.

        2. “I like to swill beer, belch and fart”

          Oh your such a non-conformist…What really winds me up is when people think that they have to prove they are so unique and more balanced then everyone else.

          Get over yourself.

          1. Sweet & Tender Hooligan 19 Jan 2013, 12:28am

            I completely agree with you. Being balanced is very over-rated. Anyway Liam, don’t let it wind you up just get your friends together and have a good bitching session. Who needs yoga, meditation or Prozac when you can bitch?

            NB. Bitching is an artform. It does not have to be cruel or spiteful but it does have to be funny.

          2. Oh dear – shame you missed out then, isn’t it? Time to back to the drawing board, perhaps.

          3. Paul Essex/London 19 Jan 2013, 2:09pm

            “What really winds me up is when people think that they have to prove they are so unique and more balanced then everyone else.”

            What? Like people who quote others completely out of context to imply that they are some how trying to be special?

            My previous comment states that I will neither conform nor non-conform, I will merely be me. And I got over me a hell of a long time ago.

      2. We are too busy having fun being ‘bitchy little queens’.

        It’s such a shame you appear to believe that making spiteful remarks contributes to being ‘fabulous (or should that be faaaaabuloussss?) creations’. It seems unlikely in the extreme to me.

        1. Sweet & Tender Hooligan 19 Jan 2013, 12:19am

          Which of my remarks do you regard as spitefulI? Isn’t being a closeted gay man joining in locker room homophobic ‘banter’ a lot more spiteful?

          1. Was it necessary, for example, to make a disparaging remark about his looks? But yes, I agree that joining in with homophobic banter is pretty awful: the point here perhaps is the degree to which Thomas is ashamed about doing so – it’s hardly as though he’s promoting it as a virtue.

  13. I watched the programme last night and I felt that it was more self indulgent than “brave”. I am sure Gareth is a lovely man and I do wish him well BUT – for me – he came across as very self absorbed and troubled. There was no indication that he had moved on from his difficult and painful past and, by the end of the programme, I found myself really worrying about his state of mind and his future. It isn’t healthy to wallow in a painful past. You have to move on. Refer to it, by all means, but put it in context and for goodness sake don’t wallow in it.

    1. Paul Essex/London 18 Jan 2013, 7:41pm

      To be fair the programme was about his past, so to focus on himself for a lot of it and revisit his past was what the whole subject was about. I didn’t see anywhere in the programme where he was referred to as brave, the main emotion that came across was deep guilt about hiding the truth from everyone around him for so long. There are a lot of gay people who can relate to that.

      He let the cameras in on conversations that many gay people have had, conversations with friends and family that he’d never had before. It was evident to me that he’s still going through a process which isn’t surprising after only coming out to anyone 5 years earlier, after 20 years hiding the truth. He was referring to his past but I didn’t see that much wallowing, merely the reality of what spending so many years trying to conform to a heternormative society can do to a person. Gareth’s story shows why so many of us are so angered by those who refer to our sexuality as an abstract concept/lifestyle choice.

  14. What a strange thread this has become. It doesn’t take much to turn us against each other. Let’s just celebrate our differences and similarities and our uniqueness. Let’s also reimagine how we get to where we want to be. We don’t “come to terms with being gay/lesbian/etc” which sounds like a plea for tolerance and an admission of shame. What we “come to terms with” is the unkindness of much of the rest of the world. We go on to make alliances; learn to love ourselves; and then tell the world that we do not ask for its endorsement. We claim our equal worth without negotiation or compromise. Have a nice day.

    1. What a load of sentimental rubbish, I suppose you will want to hold my hand next and sing kum by ya. Get over yourself.

      1. Mister Fister 19 Jan 2013, 12:37am

        Nice!

      2. Paul Essex/London 19 Jan 2013, 2:14pm

        I wouldn’t say that’s sentimental rubbish. I’d say it’s bang on.

        1. Thanks Paul.

  15. RandomWhippet 19 Jan 2013, 9:08pm

    Perhaps we should consider how it feels to be an insecure teenager, growing up gay in a small town in Britain. Watching Gareth’s programme might help youngsters, reassuring them that being gay doesn’t mean having a wretched, unfulfilled life. I recall the Radio 1 ‘Talkabout’ show from 1980, when Adrian Love interviewed members of a gay youth group in London. It filled me with hope, and I reckon the Gareth Thomas ‘Secret Past’ programme will do the same for this generation of gay teens.

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