Gareth Thomas ‘questioned coming out’ after anti-gay abuse
Gay rugby player Gareth Thomas said he briefly questioned whether he should have come out when fans shouted homophobic abuse at him during a match.
The star, who came out in December to the Daily Mail, told the newspaper today that he had been “hurt” by the chants.
The former national player recently moved to the Crusaders. Last month, Castleford Tigers were fined £40,000 after a small number of fans shouted abuse at him.
Thomas told the Mail: “I did find it very upsetting and hurtful at the time. I did wonder: ‘Am I going to endure this every week we are away?’ Which isn’t a nice thought.
“For a second, I did question whether I’d done the right thing by coming out. But afterwards I thought ‘If I have to go through this every weekend we are away, then I will’. I wasn’t going to let some group of people ruin my career or let me finish on a sour note.”
Since coming out, Thomas has become something of a celebrity, attending high-profile events and becoming a patron of LGBT History Month.
He also spoke of his shock at receiving a phone call from Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke, who hopes to make a film of his life.
Thomas said he initially believed a friend was playing a prank on him. Rourke is now set to visit him in Wales to discuss the movie further.
He split up with his wife Jemma in 2009 but says the pair are still friends and speak on the phone occasionally.
But he ruled out finding a boyfriend soon, saying he was too busy with rugby.
“It’s hectic. I hardly go out,” he said. “My friends keep telling me the right person will come along when he’s meant to, and perhaps that will happen when I’m more settled.”
Thomas added that he was pleased his experience of coming out has helped others.
He said: “Last weekend I was in London, waiting for a train on the Underground, when this teenager, who must have been around 19, came and sat next to me.
“He looked at me and said ‘Are you Gareth Thomas?’ and when I said yes, he replied: ‘I just want to say thank you so much. I was terrified of telling my parents I was gay, but when I did they said, don’t worry, haven’t you heard that Gareth Thomas is gay?’.
“It took away that awful feeling that he was going to be rejected. Now, that made me feel great.”