This Former New Zealand Rugby Player Has Come Out To Become The First Openly LGBTQ All Blacks Player

Campbell Johnstone said he wanted to help take away the pressure and stigma over being LGBTQ in a sport that many associate with being strong and manly.

This Former New Zealand Rugby Player Has Come Out To Become The First Openly LGBTQ All Blacks Player

Campbell Johnstone, a New Zealand former national rugby player, has come out as the first openly LGBTQ player for the country’s national team, the All Blacks.

The 43-year-old, who played three tests for the All Blacks in 2005, made the announcement during an interview on national broadcaster TVNZ on Monday Jan. 30.

“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,” Johnstone said.

“Then the public will know that there is one in amongst the All Blacks,” he added with a laugh.

He said he had struggled with coming out publicly as he didn’t feel it fit his dream of becoming an All Black.

“Within myself, I was never really comfortable with the whole concept,” Johnstone said. “My dream was to be an All Black… manly, strong and possibly [with] a wife and kids.”

“I’d pushed that part of me down deeper and deeper,” he said, adding that he would blame “that part” of himself if he had a bad game.

“We have a phrase in rugby that says after a game, if you can look yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself, then you’ve done enough,” he said. “And here I was, looking in the mirror, haven’t been honest with my teammates.”

Johnstone said he had told his family and some of his closest teammates a long time ago.

“It was pretty much just like I’d told them we were out of milk. That was how it was, it was no big deal. There was no party or anything, thought we might have a little celebration but no. Because I guess they know,” he said.

“But if I open up that door and kind of magically make that closet disappear then we’re going to help a lot of people,” he said. “To be able to do that (come out), could possibly be one of the final pieces in the puzzle for New Zealand sports-wise, it could be a very vital piece that just gives everyone closure.”

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