Gay rugby star Keegan Hirst has said he considered killing himself before coming out.
The rugby ace is set to become the first gay English rugby player to compete in the Super League.
Hirst, 29, came out as gay in 2015 after splitting from his wife.
The sportsman was captain of his Batley rugby team at the time, while working as a joiner on a building site to top up his income.
In an interview with the Guardian the player revealed that “there were a couple of times when I thought about killing myself”.
He said: “I got to a point where I was thinking: ‘How am I going to do it? Where am I going to do it? When am I going to do it?’”
After coming out he was deluged with support from sports fans and LGBT advocates.
Hirst denies feeling brave about coming out, though, saying he believes it’s harder for ‘effeminate lads’ who are a target of bullies.
“Now that I’m out, people have said I’m brave. But I don’t feel brave.
“I envied the lads who were brave enough to come out when they were at school.
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“Those kids who got beat up at school, the more effeminate lads.
“I always think they’re the brave ones who were getting dished up at school for being honest about who they are.
“I just bottled it up for so many years. They didn’t. So, for me, they’re the unsung heroes.”
Naming fan Jordan Coyle on its website, Hirst’s team The Batley Bulldogs has said he will no longer be welcome at the club following a series of homophobic tweets.
Hirst became one of the first players in his sport to open up about his sexuality – and his battle with the “macho” image of Rugby League – in a revealing interview with the the Sunday Mirror.
He also became the first British Rugby League player to take to the pitch as an out gay man, receiving an overwhelmingly positive reaction from fans and fellow players alike.
If you have been affected by issues in this article, and live in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116 123. If you are a young person in the US in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the Trevor Lifeline now at 866-488-7386. If you are an adult in need of support in the US, please call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-8255.