Big, beefy 22 year old Welsh OLD Redcliffians Rugby Captain Jed Hooper has come out of the closet:
The 22-year-old back row forward came out to family and friends earlier this year. And Hooper has now spoken exclusively to the Evening Post in the hope that his story can help other young rugby players come to terms with their sexuality.
Said Hooper: “I met someone earlier this year who said he could not be with someone who was in the closet. That, basically, was the catalyst that I needed. Before that, I think I had already told about ten friends and their reaction was very positive so that gave me an inkling of what might happen. And I also thought if the crap really hits the fan then at least there are ten people on my side!…I was never going to do it bit by bit, that would have been too drawn out, so I decided to text everyone and also put it on Facebook. I was horribly nervous. I wrote and rewrote the text four or five times, and I had my finger on the ‘send’ button for ages before I finally pushed it. The text basically said something along the lines that ‘I’ve been hiding it and fighting it for too long, and I can’t hide any more. If you can accept me this way then great … and if you can’t then I don’t need you and you can get lost!’ I then cried my eyes out as I was thinking to myself ‘what have you done?, but very quickly I must have had 40 replies and all of them were positive.”
Reaction throughout the Bristol rugby community, in fact, has been overwhelmingly positive. “There has only been one comment on the pitch, at a pre-season tournament, and I had to step in to stop our lads from kicking things off.” (translation: kicking the shit out of him)
Hooper add: “If anyone is reading this and they’re in the same situation as me, all I want to say is don’t bottle things up because, trust me, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The world’s not against you. If my story can help one person then this has been worth it.”
BIG HUGE CONGRATULATIONS AND WOOF TO JED!