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All Blacks player comes out

All Blacks player comes out

All Blacks rugby player Campbell Johnstone has come out as gay.

The former All Blacks prop made the announcement on a New Zealand current affairs television program on Monday, saying he had been “living a lie” and leading “a double life” before acknowledging his sexuality.

He is the first All Blacks player to come out.

“If I open up that door and magically make that closet disappear, then we’re going to help a lot of people,” he said.
“I pushed that side of me down deeper and deeper. I went to some interesting places.”

While he has been out to his family and close friends for some time, Johnstone said that he had chosen this time to come out to encourage acceptance in the game.

“If I can be the first All Black that comes out as gay and take away the pressure and stigma surrounding the issue it can actually help other people,’” he told TVBZ’s Seven Sharpe programme.

The New Zealand Rugby (NZR) world came out immediately in Johnstone’s support.

Its chief executive Mark Robinson said that Johnstone’s strength and visibility “will pave the way for others.

“Rugby is a sport that is welcoming to everyone and a place where people should feel safe to be who they are. We want to be clear, no matter who you love rugby has your back.”

The country’s sports minister and former deputy prime minister Grant Robertson, who is also gay, called Johnstone’s announcement a “big moment”.

He took to Instagram to say: “Now with the All Blacks another barrier has been broken. I hope it inspires future generations to be open, happy and comfortable. There is still a long way to go, but this feels a very significant step.”

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