(Photo Credits: Screengrab from Sport Bible’s Facebook Account)
In 2015, Keegan Hirst came out as gay to his teammates, making him the first openly gay rugby league player in Britain. Four years on, Hirst—now 31—had spoken with Sport Bible about the moments when he came out to his teammates, their captain, his wife, and his family on separate occasions as well as their respective reactions, and how that time of his life was like for him.
Hirst said that looking back he realized he was gay when he was probably about 13 or 14. He added, “Where I come from, there were no gay people. So I kind of went into denial about it and hoped that it would go away. And obviously it never did.”
Fast forward to when he was 27, he was out drinking with some of his teammates when one of them asked him if the rumor about him being gay is true. Hirst said that prior to this occasion, he had already told his wife and they’d been separated for months, he had also already came out to his mother and siblings and he remembered thinking, “Do I admit it? Do I come out with it? Or do I deny, deny, deny.”
He decided to tell them the truth and suddenly, one of his best mates started crying and when Hirst asked him why, his friend replied, “I’m sorry you had to go through that on your own and that we couldn’t be there for you.”
After coming out to his teammates, Hirst then informed his coach John Kear who merely said, “It don’t matter what you are to me, old cock, you’re a rugby player and you’re my captain. And that’s all that matters.”
Hirst said his coach’s support had meant a lot to him as it reinforced the idea that he was doing the right thing especially since he had been disowned by his mother and brother. He added that for a time, his coming out had “a mixed bag effect” on his mental health. Hirst shared, “I didn’t know what was going on with me, with life, with my job or anything, and I didn’t see another way out of it.”
Today, Hirst is glad that he came through the other side; that he is able to stand here and say, “Nothing lasts forever, whether it’s good or bad.” Watch him tell his story below.
So proud that he was able to come out, and thank God he did not do any harm to himself. And yes, some one might not think that no one cares about you when you are gone, that is far from the true, I for one never came out, I to had lots of problems during school, military, and any other jobs I had after wards. I to was thinking of just give up in live. Thank God I didn’t, even though I never came out to any one, it seems every one knew I was gay. They to didn’t… Read more »
An awesome message. He proved himself as a great man, as a great father, as a great teammate. By the time he let those around him know he was a gay man, they didn’t care. It didn’t matter. He mattered to them more than his sexual identity.
He didn’t challenge anyone to “deal with it” when it came to his sexuality. Being gay was no impediment to his being accepted or respected because he didn’t make it one. He is an awesome role model.
Thank you, you are truly an inspiration. I to went through the same, married 2 kids and thought of suicide.
There’s NO reason to have pride in being gay.
I’m gay, I don’t need pride to be who I am. I don’t need any title or self-absorbed claim to fame.
I don’t need a parade, either. Let’s be who we are. Nothing more, nothing less. You’ll get
further being accepting to other people, when you’re not forcing yourself and your titles down
their throats. Be proud that you served your country. Be proud that you help out at a food bank.
Be proud you can think for yourself in these conform-at-all-costs society …
Great points, Larry. The pressure put on gay guys from the start by “The Community” that they HAVE TO Come Out is a major contributor to depression for gays … and worse. Most people don’t care, and feel they don’t need to know, if a guy is gay. Friction comes when he pushes it in their faces.
Absolutely, the gay community bullies men and women to “come out”, and threaten you, and harass you until you either come out or you wear them down and they give up. 100% bullshit.
Wow! That was well put, man!
No matter how positive the story there is always some asshole there to shit on it. This was an inspiring story and it worked out for him. Try and just be glad.
In that “macho” environment, that could not have been easy
Kind of a Garreth Thomas reboot 10 years later but he’s still an active rugby player so the exposure that a gay rugby player exists is awesome. It’s also “easier”(?) too come out when your 6’4” 235 pound rough n tumble rugby player with little threat of physical harm to yourself because you’re a badass mofo. Glad he did this and in his 20’s and as an active player. Lets hope this helps some kids who are struggling with their identity(?).
I hope Keegan realizes the good he’s done for all the young gay guys coming to terms with who they are. There was definitely no enviable gay celebrity to look up to when I was a kid. If those that were percieved as gay weren’t readily villified, they were made to look like ridiculous stereotypes. I really hope his mum comes around. A gay son or a dead son, which would you really prefer?