Retweeting: Emma Watson’s tribute to a true sports hero

In case you haven’t been closely following the world of UK sports (it’s okay, not everybody does), this past weekend, Batley Bulldogs prop Keegan Hirst became his rugby league’s first openly gay player. Hirst came out in an interview with the Sunday Mirror. 

“At first I couldn’t even say ‘I’m gay’ in my head, let alone out loud,” Hirst told the Mirror. “Now I feel like I’m letting out a long breath that I’ve held in for a long time.”

“I’m comfortable in my own skin, probably for the first time ever,” Hirst went on to explain. “I’m not withholding anything and there’s not that sense of dread. I suppose the stereotype of a rugby player is, you’re supposed to be tough, you’re supposed to be macho…People keep saying I’m brave – I don’t feel brave. I’m just talking about me. There might be other players in the same position I was. If there are I’d tell them to just be honest with themselves.”

Hirst’s coming out has been met with overwhelming support from his friends, family, and community. Recently, our beloved Emma Watson took to Twitter to commend the athlete for his courage.

To read Hirst’s complete interview with the Mirror is to understand how difficult it was for this man to live in his truth. He comes from an area of Britain where, as he puts it, “no one is gay,” he plays a very “macho sport” and was afraid that he would not be accepted for who he was by teammates, competitors, fans, and the rest of his world. He was also married to a woman, whom he separated from in the wake of coming out, and the two have small children who know their parents have separated but still do not know why.

Still, Keegan’s secret was killing him, he explains in the interview that he was drinking himself blackout drunk and was entertaining suicidal thoughts. Hirst needed to come out to save his own life. We are grateful for his act of bravery and we are grateful for people that have influence (like Emma Watson) who commend his courage with such powerful words. We need heroes like Keegan Hirst and champions like Emma Watson to make the world a safe place for the LGBTQ+ community to live in their truth.


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(Image via Shutterstock)

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