Voted last year Britain's "manliest man," professional rugby player Sacha Harding appears naked in the Gay Times naked issue (click on image for larger view; video after the jump). And according to an interview with the Advocate, fighting for gay rights is an important part of his identity.
Have you witnessed homophobia in sports?
I personally have not.
Do you think that after Gareth Thomas came out as gay and the antibullying campaign that Ben Cohen works on that professional sports will be more accepting of openly gay players?
I hope so. Someone’s sexual preference shouldn't have any effect on whether some can be professional sportsmen. They should be appreciated for their talent.
What advice would you give to a teammate who is deciding whether to come out as gay?
I would say that the only people that matter will understand anyway. Life is too short to worry about what people think and let that dictate your life. Do what makes you happy.
And as he told the Gay Times, the photo shoot doesn't hurt his standing with his girlfriend:
She loved it actually; she’s really looking forward to seeing the pictures. She’s very supportive.
Who wouldn't? Besides, rugby players love to get naked: Something about the culture of that sport. No wonder gay rugby has taken off as it has.