Former New Zealand prop Campbell Johnstone has change into the primary All Black to return out as homosexual, saying on a tv programme he had been “living a lie” and main “a double life” earlier than acknowledging his sexuality.
Johnstone, who performed three Tests in 2005, had already instructed his household and shut buddies earlier than publicly popping out on New Zealand present affairs programme Seven Sharp.
“If I can be the first All Black that comes out as gay and take away the pressure and stigma surrounding the issue it can actually help other people,” Johnstone mentioned.
“If I open up that door and magically make that closet disappear, then we’re going to help a lot of people.
“I pushed that side of me down deeper and deeper. I went to some interesting places.”
Johnstone made his debut in opposition to Fiji and performed two Tests in opposition to the British & Irish Lions. He additionally made 62 appearances for Canterbury and 38 for the Crusaders.
New Zealand Rugby chief govt Mark Robinson, who can also be a former staff mate, mentioned in an announcement Johnstone’s “strength and visibility will pave the way for others in our game”.
“We know that there are people who have not always been comfortable to be who they are in rugby. We want to be clear, no matter who you love, rugby has your back,” Robinson added.
New Zealand Sports Minister and former deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson, who’s homosexual, thanked Johnstone for “blazing this trail” and mentioned his announcement was “a big moment”.
“Another barrier has been broken. I hope it inspires future generations to be open, happy and comfortable,” Robertson wrote on Instagram.
“There is still a long way to go, but feels a very significant step.”