Openly gay rugby player Gareth Thomas says that the Pink List of the most influential gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Britain inspired him to shed his fear of coming out. the Pink In the Independent UK: he writes:
The first time I saw the Pink List was about two years before I came out. I remember that Clare Balding was on it, and she was a big name in sports. To me that was a real “wow” moment: looking through the list and seeing people in different jobs and walks of life who had been able to be themselves and be successful. It was incredible. The list itself didn’t prompt me to come out, because that was something I had to do when the time was right for me. But it was inspirational to see that these people who did not need to pretend could thrive in their chosen field.
That first time that I saw the list, there were no sportspeople on it. Sport is the last bastion of fear for people who are gay and afraid of the reaction. There’s a stereotype that says that you have to be a certain way to play sports. Barriers are coming down, and there’s a lot more acceptance, but it’s a very slow process.
It would really help if more people in sport were openly gay, and I’m sure that the more people I inspire, the more that will filter down to children growing up. When people ahead of them break the mould of what they think they should be like, then children will be able to do what they want to do and be who they want to be, whether that be in sport, pop music, movies or whatever.
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