PUBLISHED12/09/2015 | 02:30
Gay rights groups have praised the new Guinness advert featuring former Wales and Lions rugby star Gareth Thomas discussing his journey he took in coming out to fans and teammates.
The candid clip ‘Never Alone’ has been described as “powerful” and “extremely important” by LGBT groups in Ireland.
Thomas was the first openly gay professional rugby union player, but it took him years to come to terms with his sexuality.
“I wanted to be totally open and honest with everybody, yet I didn’t want something so minor as my sexuality to define who I was,” he said.
Davin Roche, director of workplace diversity for Gay Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) praised the advert for its positivity.
“Gareth Thomas is a huge role model for LGBT people … I think the message about him seeking support from his teammates and the acceptance he got is hugely important,” he said.
“I do think that sports and team sports in particular have been a difficult place for LGBT people to be themselves.
“I think Gareth Thomas and Donal Óg Cusack have played a huge role. Times are changing, but it’s still very important that LGBT people see role models in local teams and at the highest level.”
David Carroll, executive director at BeLonG To – a youth services group – said: “Hearing (Thomas) articulate that story sends a powerful message of empathy and affirmation to other people going through similar situations.
“Young people see that you can be gay and successful, which is a very important message for them to hear.”