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Former Bath rugby star and Celebrity X-Factor contestant Levi Davis has opened up about telling his team-mates he is bisexual, after sending them a "spur of the moment" WhatsApp message.
Davis' story is a significant one as the 22-year-old becomes the first professional rugby player to publicly reveal his bisexuality.
Wales legend Gareth Thomas came out as gay two years before his retirement in 2009 and said at the time: "I’d love for it, in ten years’ time, not to even be an issue in sport."
Since then only one other rugby union player has felt comfortable being open about his sexuality, former Saracens player Sam Stanley.
Davis has now spoken about coming out to his team-mates in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, saying: "I had hidden it well but I couldn’t keep it secret any longer.
"I had to tell them, all of them, not just a few. I didn’t want it to turn into Chinese whispers. So, on the spur of the moment, I put it on our WhatsApp group."
Davis' message read: "Hi guys. I just want to tell you something that’s been eating away at me for four years now.
"I want to be open and honest with you boys, as friends and team-mates. I’m bisexual. It’s something I have known since I was 18."
The winger ended the message by saying: "none of you lot are on my radar… so it’s OK".
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Davis was initially worried about the reaction to his message but received positive responses from the Bath squad almost immediately, "And then they began taking the p*** in a good-natured way, which I was relieved about," he said.
"If they had been too tender-hearted, I would have been worried. I’m still a rugby player, after all!"
Davis believes it is "important for people to be themselves within rugby", adding: "Thankfully we can now discuss mental health more openly. And in the same way, I want people to feel that they can be who they are and that it is OK to be who they are.
"Hiding who you are can kill you – and has killed people. I don’t know yet where I am going, but by talking today I can walk hand-in-hand with whoever I want and it won’t matter any more because it’s out there.
"I realise, though, that I am a bit niche and difficult to categorise: a black, bisexual, privately educated rugby professional. Even in the deepest darkest depths, I’ve always thought I was destined for good things – and that I’d somehow make it.
"This could have ended up killing me, but it hasn’t. To anyone else in a similar position who is on the verge of telling people, I say, 'Just pull off the plaster and do it.'"
- Rugby union
- X Factor
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