Proud: My Autobiography

Proud: My Autobiography

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0091958342

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The inspiring true story of one of the first professional athletes to come out while still playing

Gareth Thomas had it all. He was a national hero and a sports icon. He was a leader of men, the captain of Wales and the British Lions. To him, rugby was an expression of cultural identity, a sacred code. It was no mere ball game. It gave him everything, except the freedom to be himself. This is the story of a man with a secret that was slowly killing him; a secret that might devastate not only his own life but the lives of his wife, family, friends, and teammates. The only place where he could find any refuge from the pain and guilt of the lie he was living was on the pitch, playing the sport he loved. But all his success didn’t make the strain of hiding who he really was go away. His fear that telling the truth about his sexuality would lose him everything he loved almost sent him over the edge. The deceit ended when Gareth became the world’s most prominent athlete to come out as a gay man. His gesture has strengthened strangers, and given him a fresh perspective. Gareth’s inspiring and moving story transcends the world of sports to tell a universal truth about feeling like an outsider, and facing up to who you really are. Proud was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2014.

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there were those who knew my real identity. They gave me space, because they knew the complexity of the situation. I, in turn, was fortunate because social media was not as all-encompassing as it has become. There were telephones and cameras around, of course, and since greed, malice and opportunism cross the boundaries of sexuality, someone could easily have sold the story of me supposedly on the prowl. Had any images been distributed, or such stories seen the light of day, the consequences

completely when I marked my 50th cap by drunkenly singing Cardiff City football songs during the official speeches at the dinner which followed a 33–23 win against Italy in Rome, in April 2001. To be fair, I was undisciplined. Not to put too fine a point on it, I was a piss-head. I still had the amateur’s love of getting leathered on boozy nights out with running mates like Leigh Davies, a free spirit who made my three years at Cardiff an enjoyable blur, off the field at least. I was courting

challenges the congregation ‘… to show any just cause or impediment’ why the couple ‘… may not lawfully be joined together’. It’s that Mrs Robinson moment. There’s usually a brief theatrical silence, before the vows are taken. In our case, at that precise point, Curtis Greenslade, Compo’s two-year-old son, decided to scream for no apparent reason. Cue uneasy giggles, the odd belly laugh, and a sudden increase in my pulse rate. It was really weird. As Catherine, Compo’s wife, has said on several

challenges the congregation ‘… to show any just cause or impediment’ why the couple ‘… may not lawfully be joined together’. It’s that Mrs Robinson moment. There’s usually a brief theatrical silence, before the vows are taken. In our case, at that precise point, Curtis Greenslade, Compo’s two-year-old son, decided to scream for no apparent reason. Cue uneasy giggles, the odd belly laugh, and a sudden increase in my pulse rate. It was really weird. As Catherine, Compo’s wife, has said on several

with a child, I would not have come out. At the time, I convinced myself a baby was everything my life needed to be complete. It would give me a reason to care for myself, because I had another human being to care for; I would be obliged to start being responsible, instead of reckless. I would take control. Fatherhood would give me the strength to be what everybody else wanted me to be. I believed and still believe, to be honest, that watching a child grow up, giving it unconditional love, and

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