Gay rugby star Sam Stanley hits out at critics of his ‘SilverDaddies’ marriage
Out gay professional rugby player Sam Stanley has hit back at critics of his age-gap engagement.
The 25-year-old athlete revealed over the weekend that he is to marry Laurence Hicks, his partner of seven years.
Stanley posted an image of the two together on Instagram, writing: “After being a part of each others lives for almost 7 years, @lorenzo_uk has been my pretend godfather, uncle, cousin and many others in order to make sure no one found out about us and that we were a couple funny looking back after having come so far together.
“The most loving man I know and I’m incredibly happy to say we’re now engaged.”
The engagement has attracted criticism from some, hitting out at the couple’s considerable difference in age.
“I’m sure as everyone knows, you’re not doing anything right if you’re not getting criticised in this world,” he told Attitude.
“Laurence and I love each other and to us that’s all that matters.
“We’re proud to represent the many relationships like ours.”
The pair met on website SilverDaddies.com, which describes itself as “a meeting place for mature men and other men (both daddies and younger), who are interested in keeping their daddy happy and/or sexually satisfied”.
Stanley confirmed the meeting, telling the magazine: “We first met online on a site called silverdaddies.com
“I mean I was never going to be seen out on the scene as I was so far in the closet at the time.”
The rugby star came out as gay back in 2015 and since said that the rugby world has been supportive of him.
After announcing his engagement, he also shared another photo saying he and Hicks are moving to Sicily “for good”, since explaining: “We’re moving May 8th so very soon. Laurence has a few travel projects he’s working on and I’m taking over a gym.”
The former player, who is now a personal trainer, said at the time that he knew he was gay from a young age.
He said: “I was 10 or 11 when I realised I was different to my friends.
“I didn’t want to accept it, I felt that being different wasn’t right. I had a girlfriend and I was thinking that, like some people say, maybe it is a phase.”
Stanley – who likes to post naked photos of himself singing and playing a guitar – also praised fellow out player Keegan Hirst, who he credited as his inspiration.
“I saw the reaction that he got and I was like ‘how encouraging is that’.
“But it took me a few weeks. I think I’ve been happy with myself for a while now.”
He also drew comparisons between his sport and football – which is now one of the few sports to have no active out gay players.
“Football stadiums – having been to games in the past – they can be hostile environments.
“I personally didn’t take the crowd and the fans into consideration. I just thought this is the best thing for me to do.
“Maybe within football, because racism is still a big thing, maybe they put homophobia on the same sort of figure – if they see a gay player that’s a great target for fans to get into them about and put them off their game.”
However, he encouraged any football players that may be considering coming out to take the leap, as they will find more support than homophobia in both fans and fellow team mates.
“I’m sure if there was a footballer who came out they’ll get so much support it will be unbelievable. It’s juts waiting for that person to take that step.”