In a cover interview with Men's
Health, out UK rugby star Gareth Thomas talks about coming out
first as gay and then as HIV-positive.
The 45-year-old Thomas came out
publicly as gay in 2009 and retired from the sport in 2011. In
September, he announced that he's living with HIV.
He said that he decided to “share his
secret” after being put “through hell” by tabloid blackmailers
who threatened to expose his status.
“When I came out as gay, I always
wanted to show a sign of strength. I'd always fight to be the
strongest,” Thomas told the UK edition of Men's Health.
“Then, when I decided that I was
going to take control of my life, I felt I needed to show another
side of me, as far as fitness goes. So, I took that fitness to
another level, because my mental images of people living with HIV
were always frail, always weak. I wanted to display the total
opposite of that,” he said.
Thomas came out HIV-positive in a video
posted on social media. He said that living with HIV has made him
“vulnerable … but not weak.”
“Even though I have been forced to
tell you this, I choose to fight, to educate, and break the stigma
around this subject,” he said.
Thomas is the subject of the BBC Wales
documentary Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me.