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Rugby Player Keegan Hirst: 'Athletes Shouldn't Be Forced to Come Out'

Keegan Hirst

Photo of Keegan Hirst (above) via Instagram

Since coming out this summer, becoming the British Rugby League player to do so, Keegan Hirst has seen his life change significantly. He ended his marriage with his wife Serena, he became friends with Ian McKellen and Elton John, and he was feted at Manchester Pride (even wearing a Stonewall "It Gets Better" T-shirt).

In a new interview for GuysLikeU.com, the athlete talks about how he didn't have any "gay mates" growing up and had "re-programmed [himself] to like girls." Hirst says he's not really looking for a long-term relationship at the moment, since he's just focused on being a good dad. And he says his 7-year-old daughter knows that he's gay. "It’s not a huge talking point, but she’s aware. It doesn’t really affect the kids, so I don’t need to bang on about it to them. But yes, they’re aware. My son is too young to understand so I guess he’ll just grow up and not know any different."

Hirst also shares his celeb crush: "I guess when I was a bit younger I thought Taylor Lautner was a good-looking guy."

When asked when other rugby players would come out, he responded: 

"When they’re ready to. I don’t think its fair to try and force it. A person, whoever they are, can only come out when they want to. They’ll feel the same as anybody else does before they come out. But if a regular guy has 100 people to come out to, to be possibly rejected by, footballers have 50,000 people who they feel may reject them. I think only when they’re totally comfortable with their situation will you get a footballer who publicly comes out."

Earlier this year, Hirst was featured in Attitude's November issue

Keegan Hirst

Photography by Leigh Keily for Attitude Magazine

In that interview, Keegan said that joining the ranks of the gay celebrity circuit has been surreal: Emma Watson direct messaged him on Twitter, and he got a call from HRH Elton John. “His PA rang for my number and I thought it was the lads taking the piss,” Hirst told Attitude, explaining that Elton praised Keegan’s bravery and how people like him are helping changing they world. Since then, they've swapped emails and messages. Oh, and he hadn't downloaded Grindr—although he knows about it—since he thinks there's probably not much point in his smaller English town. "I don’t think there’ll be a lot to pick from in Batley."

Watch a behind-the-scenes video of Keegan Hirst's Attitude mag cover shoot below:

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