Newly-out Keegan Hirst strips down for photo shoot

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The openly gay British rugby seems to have celebrated coming out by stripping off.

Keegan Hirst became the first openly gay rugby league player to take part in a game on Sunday – and it seems he may have decided to celebrate in a way that we’re sure many of his fans will approve of!

However, the photograph was no doubt taken before this weekends events – as the rugby star has been too busy expressing his thanks for the overwhelming support he has received since speaking out about his struggles with his sexuality.

Newly-out Keegan Hirst strips down for photo shoot

Hirst, 27, 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.

As he took to the pitch for the first time since coming out yesterday, he became the first British Rugby League player to do so as an out gay man – with an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the crowd and fellow players alike.

“I thought I’d be disowned by friends and family but I haven’t been,” he said.

“The support from my team mates and other rugby league players has really surprised me, it’s all been positive.”

Newly-out Keegan Hirst strips down for photo shoot

Speaking  over the weekend, the sports star said: “At first I couldn’t even say ‘I’m gay’ in my head, let alone out loud.

“Now I feel like I’m letting out a long breath that I’ve held in for a long time.

Newly-out Keegan Hirst strips down for photo shoot

“I tick every macho box. How could I be gay? I’m from Batley for goodness sake. No one is gay in Batley,” he said of his struggle.

“The only time I felt free of the torment was when I stepped on the rugby pitch. Now I feel free.”