“It’s another little community,” Hirst told the Independent. “Obviously, you would say poles apart from the LGBT world but in a similar vein they have all supported me and I’ve had nothing but kind words from players, from coaches, from club chairmen, supporters, home and away.”
Hirst was with the Batley Bulldogs when he came out publicly in 2015. Since then another team, Wakefield Trinity, has come along and signed him to their squad.
The move by Wakefield speaks to the lack of issue it is for at least one team’s front office. Welsh rugger Gareth Thomas found the same thing when he came out and was signed by another club.
Given Hirst’s accounts of total acceptance at every level, and Wakefield’s signing of him, it’s hard to see how homophobia has much of a foothold in rugby league.
As we’ve chronicled over and over on Outsports, it’s increasingly difficult to find places in North American and European sports where real homophobia — a hatred and rejection of gay people — dominates culture.