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Gareth Thomas

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In December 2009 rugby player Gareth Thomas announced publicly that he is gay. He told the Daily Mail, "I don't want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player, first and foremost. I am a man". Thomas's public confirmation of his sexuality made him the first openly gay professional rugby union player. In an interview with the BBC, Thomas talked about how he hoped that his coming out would mean that in the future, young gay rugby players would be able to come out and be accepted as a "talented gay rugby player". Thomas also said, "What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby". Since coming out, Thomas has become a vocal supporter of the NSPCC and ChildLine, a telephone counselling service operated by the NSPCC for children and young people. In an interview, Thomas commented, "I don't know if my life is going to be easier because I'm out, but if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to ChildLine, then it will have been worth it".