In a recent interview, Gareth Thomas,
one of the first professional athletes in the UK to publicly come out
gay, talked about being blackmailed into revealing he's HIV positive.
Last year, Thomas announced that he's
HIV positive and that blackmailers had threatened to expose him. The
revelation was followed by the BBC Wales documentary Gareth Thomas:
HIV and Me.
Speaking with The Guardian, the
rugby star (Thomas retired in 2011), said that he's angry that he was
unable to control the timing of his coming out but happier now that
he doesn't have to hide his status anymore.
“It felt more shameful [than coming
out gay],” Thomas said, adding that he didn't believe people would
Thomas said that a reporter asked his
parents to comment about his HIV status.
“Then I had the phone call from my
mother, in tears,” he said. “I have never felt like I was so far
away from home in my entire life.”
“What this journalist didn't know is
that my parents thought I was gonna die – they didn't know any
Today, he says he's grateful that his
status is public.
“I actually feel kind of empowered
and feel like I live a freer, happier life when I don't have
secrets,” he said.
“My life is so much better,” Thomas
added. “I realized having HIV doesn't limit me; it actually
challenges me to make sure that every moment of my life I live to my
full potential. I really, really was convinced I was going to die. I
don't feel like I've had this rebirth, but I do feel like I've had a
rewiring. I'm okay with who I am. So it has changed my life, in an
umbelievably positive way.”
Thomas, 45, is married to Stephen