Instagram

Sam Stanley Is The First Openly Gay English Rugby Union Player

Standing ovation.

On the heels of the recent landmark moment for the first out gay MLB player, another sportsman has bravely come forth: Sam Stanley, who plays rugby for England Sevens, came out as gay via an interview with the Sunday Times.

This makes the 23-year-old the first openly out English professional rugby union player. Stanley struggled with the decision, worrying that he'd ruin his rugby career by coming out – he even contemplated suicide at one point. “You are so worried about what people will think, and I thought I couldn’t be a macho rugby player the way I was, and there was nothing else I wanted to do with my life," he told the Times. But he finally took the leap, and said, "It is such a relief." He was also able to open up about his partner of five years, Laurence. Here they are on holiday (all the heart emojis, for real):

Stanley has officially joined the first brave pioneers in sports like the aforementioned MLB's David Denson and the NFL's Michael Sam, and we think young athletes have an incredible new crop of role models. “It is going to be an issue until more people and athletes come out, until it is not an issue at all," Stanley continued. "It might take years but hopefully, lots of people will find the courage." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.