2 min read

England Rugby Sevens star Sam Stanley, who has represented England five times internationally, has come out as gay and has spoken of his anguish at hiding his sexuality.

Stanley is the first English professional rugby union player to come out as gay, and has done so less than a month after rugby league player Keegan Hirst, who had also struggled with being gay but has since received a huge amount of support.

Stanley who has revealed in an interview with the Sunday Times, that like many young gay men he attempted suicide, fearing that his sexuality would ruin and end his rugby career, has spoken of his anguish at hiding his sexuality.


“I was standing on a bridge about four or five years ago, overlooking a motorway in Essex… however, looking back, the idea that I would jump was ridiculous but it was as if I was thinking that I could get rid of the pain in one go,” Stanley told the Sunday Times.

“You are so worried about what people will think and I thought I couldn’t be a macho rugby player the way I was, and there was nothing else I wanted to do with my life.”

Stanley started to identify that he was gay from a young age.

“I was 10 or 11 when I realised I was different to my friends.”

“I didn’t want to accept it, I felt that being different wasn’t right. I had a girlfriend and I was thinking that, like some people say, maybe it is just a phase.”



Messages of support from Stanley’s old team mates who played for the Saracens, where Stanley was a player between 2010 and 2014, have flooded in tweeting

‘So #proud of @Stanley_13. Always a member of the #SarriesFamily.’

Sam’s older brother Michael Stanley, plays for Samoa, and has also spoken of his pride for his brother, tweeting ‘So proud of my little brother, not easy in this days society! Love you uce, be proud of who you are #FtheHaters @Stanley_13’

The first rugby union player to come out as gay was former Wales captain Gareth Thomas, who came out in 2009.

Last Updated on Aug 31, 2015

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