Just weeks after rugby player Keegan Hirst made headlines by announcing publicly that he's gay, another rugby player followed suit over the weekend: England Sevens star Sam Stanley
, who became the first English rugby union professional to come out as gay.
Speaking to the Sunday Times
, Stanley said: “It is going to be an issue until more people and athletes come out, until it is not an issue at all. It might take years but hopefully, lots of people will find the courage.”
However, as Outsports
has noted, any of Stanley's 4000-plus Instagram fans would've started 'getting the hint' a few weeks back, when he started sharing more of his personal life on his public Instagram account.
Stanley - who until recently, has used his Instagram account primarily for selfies and rather adorable videos of him playing guitar - posted his first picture with his partner Laurence nine weeks ago, with the caption: "Great evening at the end of season awards dinner! Was awesome getting to share it with this guy!"
Six weeks ago, Stanley posted a picture from a 'family BBQ', showing he, Laurence and a couple of female relatives: "Nice to spend time with my sis and cousin and other half of course"...
Later that week, "VIP at the O2 tonight to see Bette Midler thanks to my man":
And finally, some five weeks ago, pictured on a beach in Italy with his partner - Sam even captioned the pic with a love heart emoji and a male-couple-holding-hands emoji:
So there you have it - while Stanley's big public coming out happened in the eyes of most over the weekend, the handsome 23-year-old has actually been happily, quietly 'out' for a little while now, it's just none of us noticed!
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Sam Stanley is the first gay rugby union player to come out