A star rugby player has thrown his support behind the LGBTI community becoming more involved in the sport.
James Haskell made the comments at a training session at the LGBTI club, the Northhampton Outlaws RFC.
Northampton Saints and England player, Haskell, said it was shameful that people still had to ‘come out’.
‘My view on sexuality is it’s a shame that it’s something people still have to announce or deal with, but obviously we do, and it’s like that because a lot of people aren’t informed as they should be,’ he told Rugby Pass.
‘I think there’s a multitude of religions that make sexuality a very uncomfortable thing which is a shame – I never came out as straight so I don’t see why other people should have to put their hand up and say “I’m gay or I’m this or I’m that” but we live in this world.
‘I can’t imagine what it’s like to be struggling to actually be yourself, to live a life where you’re not able to be yourself and to come to a team like the Outlaws where you’re not judged, you’re accepted, it’s essential.’
LGBTI clubs need to exist
Haskell went on to say that it was great LGBTI clubs like the Outlaws existed.
‘We all have our struggles and sexuality for a lot of people is a massive struggle – having teams like this where you know you can get involved is massively important,’ he said.
‘Long may it continue but hopefully one day we’ll reach a stage where sexuality is not a thing, hopefully rugby will keep being a pioneer in this area.’
It was not the first time Haskell has spoken out on LGBTI rights.
In 2013, he supported gay rugby player, Gareth Thomas’ calls for LGBTI athletes to feel safe no matter where in the world they are competing.
At the time he said he ‘feels bad’ anyone should have to conceal their sexuality.
‘Statistically there must be gay rugby players out there,’ Haskell said.