5th November 2010, 16:17
Thomas named 2010 Stonewall Hero of the Year
Gareth Thomas was named the 2010 Stonewall Hero of the Year...
Wales International Rugby League player and Alitalia European Cup winner Gareth Thomas was named the 2010 Stonewall Hero of the Year at the Stonewall Awards Dinner, held on Thursday November 4.
Thomas, who became the world's first openly-gay rugby player after publically announcing his homosexuality in December 2009, was one of five names shortlisted for the award.
The Hero of the Year award recognises an individual who has encouraged, inspired or achieved the most for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the last year and the shortlist also included BBC Rugby League presenter Claire Balding and former Xfactor winner Joe McElderry.
"It was a great honour to win the Hero of the Year award last night," said the former British and Irish Lions rugby union captain, who became a dual-code international player earlier this year following a switch to Rugby League.
"Having my parents there to watch me receive the reward made it all the more special.
"For me being a hero is about being honest. That's not always easy in this world where we seem to be trying to make everyone the same sometimes.
"I want to do my bit to help make a change, to help make our world a place where we accept honesty and difference, and embrace it rather than fear it."
The RFL has been widely recognised as a governing body that is committed to tackling homophobia and ensuring our sport is welcoming and inclusive of LGBT people. The RFL remains the only national Governing Body of Sport to join the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme and to set up an LGBT network for LGBT staff, players, coaches, match officials and volunteers.