Professional rugby player Devin Ibañez
has said that he's received overwhelming support after coming out
Ibañez, who played with the New
England Free Jacks in 2019, came out on Facebook and Instagram on
“Everyone has been overwhelmingly
supportive and amazing,” Ibañez told LGBT sports blog Outsports.
“I've even gotten some messages from players who played on the same
teams as me who told me a bit about their own stories. And that's all
I really want. Just to connect with those who had similar experiences
and hopefully inspire those who are going through the same things.”
In coming out, Ibañez posted photos of
his boyfriend Fergus Wade, an English medical student he met in 2017.
In one photo, Ibañez shares a kiss with Wade.
Ibañez's Instagram account appears to
have been created to mark his coming out. His profile name is
“thatgayrugger” and he describes himself as the “first openly
gay @usmlr player.”
Ibañez said that he wanted to make
positive changes in his life that would impact his happiness.
“It became clear to me that living my
life with more transparency and openly celebrating who I love would
have an immediate positive impact on me and those I care about,” he
Ibañez said that while his sexuality
wasn't a secret, he “felt a need to keep it separate from my rugby
He told Outsports that coming
out publicly has been a “long and difficult process” for him
despite having tremendous support.
“I am extremely lucky to live in a
very accepting place in Boston,”
he said. “And to have an amazingly supportive family. So in
many ways I’ve had it very easy, but it was still a long and
difficult process. But I can say I am definitely one of the lucky
ones, so if I couldn’t get myself to take that step for this long
with all of the support I had, I can’t imagine how difficult it is
for those who don’t have those support systems.”
Ibañez added that he hopes to play in
England to be closer to Wade.