England wicketkeeper Steven Davies

England wicketkeeper Steven Davies has come out the closet, making him the first still-playing openly gay professional cricketer.

Davies (24) told the Daily Telegraph in a video interview that he could no longer lie about his sexuality.

“I’m comfortable with who I am – and happy to say who I am in public,” said Davies, who came out to his family five years ago.

He added: “This is the right time for me…I feel it is right to be out in the open about my sexuality. If more people do it, the more acceptable it will become. That must be a good thing.

“To speak out is a massive relief for me, but if I can just help one person to deal with their sexuality then that’s all I care about.”

Davies said that he was inspired to be open about his sexuality by 36 year old Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas who came out to the public in December 2009.

“I know how hard it is to be honest about something like this when you are in the public eye, and for him to be able to come out and talk about it at his age is refreshing and hopefully like when I came out, will encourage and inspire others to feel they can do the same.”

Davies said that he hoped that his coming out would make it easier for other professional sportsmen to do the same. He also revealed that he had told his fellow England team-mates that he is gay and had only received support from them.

“That didn’t change anything for us. He is a very popular guy in our team. We are all behind him. As a guy, he is a fantastic cricketer and that is what we see him as,” England batsman Ian Bell told the Telegraph.

“He is a massive important person in our team going forward. He is a very talented cricketer, like I said. As a mate as well, like I said, we’re all with him, and the more cricket he can play for England the better.”

Watch the Daily Telegraph

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