Rugby star James Haskell says players shouldn’t have to come out

A star rugby player has spoken out about LGBT+ inclusivity in the sport.

James Haskell, who plays for England internationally and the Northampton Saints, said LGBT+ people shouldn’t have to come out because he didn’t have to come out as heterosexual.

Speaking to Rugby Pass at the LGBTI club, the Northhampton Outlaws RFC, he said: “My view on sexuality is it’s a shame that it’s something people still have to announce or deal with, but obviously we do, and it’s like that because a lot of people aren’t informed as they should be.

“I think there’s a multitude of religions that make sexuality a very uncomfortable thing which is a shame – I never came out as straight so I don’t see why other people should have to put their hand up and say ‘I’m gay or I’m this or I’m that’ but we live in this world.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like to be struggling to actually be yourself, to live a life where you’re not able to be yourself and to come to a team like the Outlaws where you’re not judged, you’re accepted, it’s essential.”

James Haskell has spoken out in support of LGBT+ rights (David Rogers/Getty Images)

Last year, former Wales rugby player Gareth Thomas said he was the victim of a homophobic attack in Cardiff.

Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, posted an emotional video on social media, in which he had visible scratches on his head and appeared to have bruises.

Thomas said on Twitter: “This morning I have decided to make what I hope will be a positive video. Last night I was the victim in my home city of a hate crime for my sexuality.

“Why I want it to be positive: I want to say thank you to the police, who were involved and allowed me to do restorative justice to the people that did this because I thought they could learn more that way.

“And also to the people of Cardiff who supported me and helped me because there’s a lot of people out there who want to hurt us.

“But, unfortunately for them, there’s a lot more who want to help us heal. So this, I hope, will be a positive message.”

Thomas previously invited homophobic internet trolls to come and repeat their abuse to his face.

“It’s a human right that we are allowed to be who we want to be – but within this game if you’re not the stereotypical male or female we expect you to be then we’re allowed to abuse you for 90 minutes,” he said.

“I would give my right arm to sit down in a room with one of these people, just to understand their views.”