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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 263 > KEEGAN HIRST

KEEGAN HIRST

Keegan Hirst became the first British Rugby League player to come out as gay. In a sporting world still not fully comfortable with gay people he’s a deserving recipient of our Editor’s Special Award…

SUPPORTED BY aussiebum

STYLING JOSEPH KOCHARIAN

PHOTOGRAPHY LEIGH KEILY

“It’s been a bit manic, yeah, but it’s all been good,” Keegan Hirst attests, reflecting on the monumental changes he’s been through this year.

We’re on location for his Editor’s Special Attitude Award photoshoot and chit-chatting

(as he says often in his thick Northern accent) about his rollercoaster year. He’s a huge wall of rugged blokey-ness to look at, but his manner is amiable and calm. Exactly how tall are you, I ask? “Six foot six inches,” he says. “Seven foot in heels.” He delivers the line with a wry smile. There’s a relaxed confidence about him that surprises me given the massive upheaval that his life has seen, transforming himself from the 27-year-old captain of West Yorkshire’s Batley Bulldogs rugby side to the world’s newest sporting hero.

The past ten months have seen him, at last, come to terms with his sexuality, sadly end his eight year relationship with his wife Sara, come out as gay in a national newspaper and become friends with Ian McKellen and Elton John.

Despite the headline grabbing fact of being the first openly gay British Rugby League player, the biggest challenge he faced has been coming to terms with the fact that he was going to hurt a woman he loved.

“The day I married her I thought I was going to be with her for the rest of my life,” he says of his wife Sara.

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About Attitude

In this very special issue meet the winners of the Attitude Awards 2015, including Celebrity Big Brother stars Austin Armacost and James Hill, recently out rugby stud Keegan Hirst, TV stars Reggie Yates, Cyril Nri and Lorraine Kelly, plus beloved Corrie actor Antony Cotton. But we’re not only celebrating the world’s greatest stars - nods also go to 56 Dean Street for their sterling work in the gay community, the same-sex marriage victory in the Republic of Ireland, Scottish politician Mhairi Black and handsome French entrepreneurs Pierre and Adrien Gaubert. Elsewhere in the issue, we have all your regular favourites, including this month’s Active section which features 6’5” US hunk and star of TV’s Baby Daddy Derek Theler, with extra unmissable pictures on the iPad. We also launch a new feature exclusive to iPad, Small Town Boy, plus find lots of bonus pictures and video clips inside.
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