Retired Welsh professional rugby footballer who played rugby league for the Crusaders RL in the Super League. He also previously played rugby union for the Cardiff Blues and Wales as a fullback, wing or centre. On 26 May 2007, Thomas surpassed Gareth Llewellyn as the most-capped Wales rugby union player with his 93rd appearance. During the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Thomas scored a try in what was his final game for Wales, and in the process created sporting history when he become the first Welshman to win 100 international caps in rugby union.
When Thomas came out as gay, he was notable as the world's only openly gay man currently playing in a professional team sport. (Cricketer Steven Davies, volleyball player Michael Dos Santos and footballer Anton Hysén have since also come out).
In December 2009 Thomas was voted top of the Pink List in 2010 of the 101 most influential gay people in the UK, and he received Stonewall’s Hero of the Year award in October 2010. In 2011, he declined to be included in the IoS Pink List, but was was named at number 2 on the DS "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011:
With 100 caps to his name – more than any other player in Welsh history – Gareth has one of the fiercest reputations on the field, and a row of missing front teeth to prove it. So it came as a shock to everyone – even his wife – when Gareth admitted he was gay. But in what we’d assume to be a traditionally heterosexual sport, Gareth has been supported both on and off the pitch by both his teammates and fans.
“I don’t want to be known as a gay rugby player,” he says. “I am a rugby player, first and foremost I am a man.”
He is such a legend in his own lifetime that even Mickey Rourke is planning to play him in a biopic movie. But it’s Gareth’s determination to help other young people wrestling with their sexuality that has made him a hero.
“I don’t know if my life is going to be easier because I’m out,” he explains, “but if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to ChildLine, then it will have been worth it.”
(Number 2. on the DS list of the "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011)