Levi Davis has opened up about his sexuality – becoming the first professional ‘out’ bisexual rugby star.
The former Bath and England player battled a “sense of shame,” before summoning the strength to live his truth.
In a candid interview in the Mail on Sunday, Levi, 22, revealed that he posted the announcement in his team’s WhatsApp group.
“I had hidden it well, but I couldn’t keep it secret any longer. I had to tell them, all of them, not just a few. I didn’t want it to turn into Chinese whispers,” he recalls.
The message read: “Hi guys. I just want to tell you something that’s been eating away at me for four years now. I want to be open and honest with you boys, as friends and teammates. I’m bisexual. It’s something I have known since I was 18.”
He added: “None of you lot are on my radar… so it’s OK.”
Levi – who appeared on Celebrity X Factor last year, as part of rugby band Try Star – had the full backing of his Bath teammates.
“They began taking the p*** in a good-natured way, which I was relieved about,” he continues. “If they had been too tender-hearted, I would have been worried. I’m still a rugby player, after all.”
The trail-blazing sportsman – also the first rugby pro to publicly identify as LGBTQ+ while still playing – admits he slept with a succession of women to keep up his “macho” image.
“I felt I needed to be this macho man, which I still am, but it felt like I needed to reinforce this more,” he explains.
Over the years, a number of rugby favourites have shown their rainbow stripes – from Keegan Hirst to Gareth Thomas – and Levi hopes his story will help closeted players.
“There are definitely others out there in rugby,” he says. “I want people to feel that they can be who they are and that it is OK to be who they are.”
“At this moment in time, I feel so free. I am really, really happy that this is coming out and I can be myself,” he adds.
Last month, Levi inked a two-year deal with the Ealing Trailblazers in West London.