And on a Brighter Note

Former Wales and Lions [that’s rugby–I didn’t know either] captain Gareth Thomas has come out. Big burly manly sport that it is, professional rugby is surely not an obvious pick for gay-friendly profession. And Thomas, from what I hear, is about as big, burly, and manly as they get. He describes a terrible time in life, with his marriage to a woman who he clearly loved very much falling apart for obvious reasons. He was, from the sound of it, forced out of the closet. So what happened when he made his announcement? A heartwarming story perfect for the Christmas season, that’s what:

Cardiff Blues utility back Thomas said he had been through “all sorts of emotions” over the issue, since first knowing he was gay in his late teens.

He revealed that he was “anxious about people’s reactions” to him being gay and that he felt he could not have come out earlier in his rugby career.

“Somehow, the coach had guessed,” said Thomas. “He took me out of the team room to the medical room, locked the door and I told him everything.

“After keeping it secret for so long, I felt a huge rush of relief.

“Scott said: ‘Right, I’ve got to speak now to three or four players in the Welsh team because you need the boys to surround you and support you. You can’t cope with this on your own,’ and he was right.

“He told two of my team-mates, Stephen Jones and Martyn Williams, and as I sat in the bar waiting for them, I was absolutely terrified, wondering what they were going to say.

“But they came in, patted me on the back and said: ‘We don’t care. Why didn’t you tell us before?’

“Two of my best mates in rugby didn’t even blink an eyelid.”

You can read the full story on BBC online sport.

“Nobody Thinks that Way Anymore”

Oh yeah?

DOZENS of people queued inside a Co Kerry courthouse yesterday to shake hands and sympathise with a man who was jailed for five years for sexually assaulting a woman in Listowel.

“Even though my name has never been mentioned in the press, Listowel is not a big town and everyone knows it’s me,” the woman said. “I feel as if people are judging me the whole time. I’ve been asked by people I know if I am sorry for bringing Dan Foley to court. I am not sorry for it. All I did was tell the truth.”

About 50 people, mostly middle-aged and elderly men, queued yesterday to shake hands with the convicted man and hug him tearfully after he was brought from the cell to the dock, before Judge McDonagh entered the courtroom.

Foley, who had been celebrating his 34th birthday on the night of the offence, had denied the charge. He told gardaí he had “found your wan” after he had gone to relieve himself near a skip at 3.50am. However CCTV footage showed him carrying her to the skip area. It also emerged he had met her earlier in a nightclub.

Read the full Irish Times story here. (Thanks, MG.)