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Exeter Chief’s Jack Dunne says it was ‘probably tougher’ coming out to family than teammates

"It wasn't really a big thing for me when I came out publicly".

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Instagram/@leinsterrugby

Exeter rugby player Jack Dunne says it was “probably tougher” to come out to his family than it was to his teammates.

Jack, who came out as bisexual last June, is set to become the first openly LGBTQ player to play in the Premiership League.

Speaking recently to BBC Sport the 23-year-old says he hopes other players will be able to follow in his example. 

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A post shared by Jack Dunne (@jackdunne28)

“It would be good for other gay or bisexual men to see people like me and hopefully it’ll give them a bit of confidence to be able to be who they are,” he told the Beeb.

In what should provide some hope to closeted players Dunne relays how supportive his players at his old team Leinster were when he came out, he says it wasn’t something he worried about. 

“It was probably tougher coming out to my friends and family back in the day, I’d been OK with it for five years or so, so it wasn’t really a big thing for me when I came out publicly, the personal one was probably bigger than the professional one.”

Dunne also offered praise to the footballer Jake Daniels, who came out as gay in May, becoming the only openly gay male professional footballer in Britain.

“That was very brave of Jake as football is probably known a bit more for crowds abusing players, and not even good craic stuff, they obviously do some abuse that’s across the line, so I have a lot of respect for how brave Jake was.”

From his own experience and Jake’s Jack says, “I’d just encourage everyone to be themselves, and whether it’s the right decision for them to come out in a professional way – it’s up to them to decide.

“I think it’s important to be yourself and hopefully your friends and family will accept you, but in some circles it might not be the wisest thing, so everyone’s in their own situation. But I’d hope everyone would be comfortable being themselves.”

The Attitude September/October issue is out now.