Keegan Hirst has become the first British rugby league player to come out as gay in an interview with the Mirror saying he’s struggled with this for years and actually contemplated suicide rather then come out.
“Now I feel free.”
Making it even harder, though, is that Hirst is also married and a father, though he came out to his wife months before coming out in the press. He and his wife are now separated and he has not yet told his children, who are two and seven.
But, like most closeted gay men, the struggle to deny his orientation resulted in over-indulging. He began drinking far too much, and staying out far too late, which lead to the questioning from his wife.
“My wife would ask why was I out till all hours, who was I with, what was I doing, where had I been. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy with her, it was that I wasn’t happy with myself. [Now] I’m comfortable in my own skin, probably for the first time ever."
You cannot say how or when or if people come out, you just have to be there to say, ‘Welcome out,’ and to perhaps offer up a copy of The Gay Agenda and a Coming Out Toaster Oven, or, maybe in Hirst’s case, a Coming Out Crumpet Oven.
Welcome Out, Keegan, welcome out. And, while we’re being so welcoming ….
David Denson, a first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers' rookie affiliate in Helena, Montana, had long wanted to tell his teammates that he was gay, and when he did it wasn’t exactly as he’d envisioned.
A month ago, in the clubhouse, a teammate jokingly referred to him as a ‘faggot’ and Denson could have fought back; he might have hurled his own slur; he might have thrown a punch. Instead he said, with a smile:
"Be careful what you say. You never know."
And then he came out to his team. And when he stopped talking he was met with understanding and support from the team.
"Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them. They said, 'You're still our teammate. You're still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You're still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don't treat you any different. We've got your back.'”
As it should be.
Then, with the help of former major-league ballplayer, and openly gay man, Billy Bean, who last year was named Major League Baseball's first Ambassador for Inclusion, Denson told his story to the press, becoming the first active player in affiliated professional baseball to come out as gay.
And that deserves a congratulations and a ‘Welcome out,’ along with a copy of The Gay Agenda — in a new edition that no longer includes fighting for marriage equality because we have that — and a Coming Out Toaster Oven.
Welcome out, David, welcome out.