Professional Irish rugby player Jack Dunne revealed he was bisexual over the weekend. The 22-year-old second row player for Leinster Rugby made the revelation in a "Building Allies with Pride" outreach panel discussion organized by the team, as well as on the BBC LGBT Sport Podcast. Dunne, who went to university on scholarships for both rugby and physics, said he has been out among friends and teammates privately since his late teens, but that this is the first time he has spoken publicly about his bisexuality.
"I kind of realized when I was maybe sixteen or so, maybe fifteen or sixteen, but you're in a school full of teenage boys," Dunne said on the LGBT Sport Podcast.
He might have come out sooner, but decided to stay in the closet due to the comments and attitudes he heard from fellow students.
"I think a lot of them were saying things that they weren't even thinking about — if they actually stopped and had a thought about what they'd said, they'd probably think 'I shouldn't be saying that,'" Dunne recalled.
The lesson he took away was that "you should probably just keep this to yourself." It wasn’t long before Dunne decided he wasn’t going to hide forever, though. Before he graduated high school he told "one or two people" and things went so well that he decided "you know what, I’ll just tell everyone," which is exactly what he did.
"It went pretty well," Dunne recalled. "There were one or two people who said 'you're not bisexual, you're just gay' but largely it was overwhelmingly positive."
Dunne also spoke of the differences between being gay and bisexual.
"When you're bisexual, it's almost like a blessing and a curse," Dunne explained. "You can hide it easier, you can still go out with the lads on Saturday night and do all that stuff, but then at the same time it's easier to hide it and easier not to be true to yourself."
The news comes not long after NFL player Carl Nassib revealed he was gay in an Instagram post. With the announcement, the defensive end from the Las Vegas Raiders becomes the first out gay player in the NFL.
Dunne said he never really made a big deal about coming out to his teammates. Like in school, word eventually spread, and life went on. It’s part of the six-foot-eight-inch scholar-athlete's goal of obliterating tired stereotypes about gay athletes. He said he’s coming out now to be a role model for other young athletes coming to terms with their sexual identities.