by Leander Milbrecht
Levi Davis (22) is the first rugby player to come out as queer at the beginning of his career – and the first to come out as bisexual. The profi player explained that he had previously struggled with psychological problems and alcohol abuse and that outing would help him to end the shame and the game of hide-and-seek. The reactions to the outing were overwhelmingly positive.
Davis now revealed in an interview with the British newspaper Daily Mail that his young career was already in deep crisis. Because of his bisexuality, he had to struggle with a sense of shame because he felt like he was not normal. In an effort to suppress his feelings, he overcompensated and slept with a number of women. The attempt to deny his true self led to a deterioration in his mental health and excessive alcohol consumption.
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“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.”
The 22-year-old saw only one solution: clean slate. He wrote a message to his teammates in a WhatsApp group that would change his life – it was a spontaneous decision, the professional sportsman said. The message was:
“Hi guys. I just want to tell you something that has been eating away at me for four years now. I want to be open and honest with you boys, as friends and teammates. I’m bisexual. It’s something I have known since I was 18. None of you lot are on my radar… so it’s OK.”
The Brit has played for the Bath Rugby team and has achieved international success in the British U18 and U19 teams. Last year he appeared on Celebrity X-Factor as part of the rugby boy band Try Star. Last month he signed a two-year contract with the Ealing Trailfinders in London.
A lot of positive reactions
Davis’ team colleagues reacted to his coming out with support and acceptance – and with a good sense of humour. Davis said he was relieved when they started teasing him – he would have been more worried if they had handled him with kid gloves.
The positive reactions of his fellow players and the realisation that there must be others who had to struggle with the same burden as he did, gave him the strength to make his coming out public. He wanted to encourage more people to be themselves in rugby.
“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.”
With the publication of the interview on 13 September, the secret was no longer a secret. Davis told BT Rugby Tonight about how tolerant and enthusiastic the public was about his outing.
“It’s been overwhelmingly positive. I had lots of messages on my phone and Instagram. Haven’t got quite around to reading all or replying to them all. It genuinely is overwhelming but it has been very, very positive.”
- levidavis: By: Instagram / thelelife
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