Who is Campbell Johnstone, the New Zealand All Blacks’ first gay player?
Campbell Johnstone has generated headlines globally after coming out as the New Zealand All Blacks’ first out gay player – a great leap forward for LGBTQ+ representation in the sport.
In an interview with TVNZ’s Seven Sharp on Monday (30 January), Johnstone said he wanted to create some “closure” after “living a lie” and leading “a double life”.
Campbell Johnstone was already out to family and friends, but explained he wanted to share his story publicly to “take away the pressure and stigma surrounding the issue” of gay players in rugby.
Who is Campbell Johnstone?
The six-foot prop, who is 43-years-old, played for the All Blacks in 2005 as number 1056.
During his career with the All Blacks he played in three test matches against teams including Fiji and the British and Irish Lions.
According to Sky Sports, Johnstone has played 38 Super Rugby matches for the Christchurch-based Crusaders, who he played with from 2003 to 2008, while between 2002 to 2008 he also played for Canterbury.
His Instagram account reveals played his last game for the Crusaders in 2008 before taking the opportunity to play for Biarritz Olympic in the south west of France.
Johnstone played for Biarritz France from 2008 to 2012 and during this time he made more than 100 appearances for the Top 14 club. He then played for Welsh rugby union team Ospreys Wales from 2012 to 2013.
In an Instagram post shared 22 January, Johnstone said that in 2016 he took took up a position at the University of Madrid as Technical Director of Rugby.
What else do we know about the trailblazing gay rugby player?
Despite having had a successful rugby career, until now, Johnstone hasn’t spoken publicly about his private life.
The retired rugby pro attened Lindisfarne College in New Zealand followed by Lincoln University, which was founded in 1878 and is the oldest agricultural teaching institution in the Southern Hemisphere.
A brief look at Johnstone’s Twitter also reveals he may be a Star Wars fan, as he retweeted Star Wars content, and in 2015 his Twitter account shows he became part of New Zealand water company, Ō Pure Water.
His Twitter account also shows that he may know how to speak French, which would’ve benefited him during his time playing for Biarritz.
After Johnstone’s public coming out, All Blacks officials offered nothing but love and support to the former player, saying that his “strength and visibility” would pave the way for acceptance in rugby.
To mark the historic moment, Johnstone posted on Instagram: “Awesome day today, going back to the Crusaders talking about my journey – really happy to take this step.
“I’m also hoping to help open the door for anyone who may be struggling within this space.”
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