Gareth Thomas had an illustrious career in Rugby and at one point was Wales’ most capped player and arguably their best known player, but he shocked the sporting world in 2009 when he came out publicly as gay and became the first openly homosexual professional rugby union player in the process. He had previously been married to a female but went through a divorce after confessing his sexuality to his wife.
After coming out as gay Thomas received a positive response from fans of rugby and his colleagues and he is on record as saying that he came out in order to make it easier for players to come out in the future at an earlier stage in their careers. In the 2017 BBC documentary Gareth Thomas v Homophobia: Hate in the Beautiful Game Thomas tackles the issue of homophobia in an altogether different sport, football, where there have been very few players to come out as homosexual whilst playing and those that have had difficulties in their careers.
One of those players was Justin Fashanu whose career went quickly downhill after he came out as gay, he eventually committed suicide, whilst Robbie Rogers of Leeds United retired from football in order to come out before later resuming his career overseas. One of the people to contribute to the documentary is Amal Fashanu the niece of Justin, she had herself previously made the documentary Britain’s Gay Footballers (2012).