Gareth Thomas is a Welsh rugby legend who made history by becoming the world’s first openly gay rugby player in 2009. One of the most popular LGBT speakers around, he is a true icon in the community. When booked for events, Gareth can cover issues that he’s been affected by, including homophobia, mental health issues and HIV, as well as his rugby career.
On the field, Gareth had a hugely successful professional rugby career, representing Wales 100 times including at four Rugby World Cups. Well-known as a prolific wing, centre and second-rower, he remains his country’s highest-ever scorer and broke records in 1999 when he scored four tries in a single match against Italy. On top of his success on the international stage, Gareth has also made an impact on the domestic scene playing for the likes of Cardiff, Bridgend and the French side Toulouse.
Gareth realised he was gay at a young age and hid his sexuality from family, friends and teammates for many years. Fearful that he would be alienated from everyone he knew if people found out the truth, he got married to a woman and put all his energy into rugby. Gareth made his debut for Wales in 1995 and became renowned for the speed and power in his game. These qualities saw him become regarded as one of the best in the world in his position.
But, in 2009, he decided he couldn’t hide who he was any longer. Making the brave decision to come out, his courage has inspired countless others to be proud of their sexuality. Before coming out, Gareth had lived with a dark cloud over his head, struggling with his mental health and contemplating suicide. He had to battle these dark thoughts again in 2019 when he discovered he was diagnosed with HIV. At events, Gareth candidly shares his inspirational yet often traumatic journey, showing others there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
Now, Gareth is a vocal campaigner for a range of causes, including HIV charities as well as the NSPCC and ChildLine. Recently, he has filmed a documentary with Prince Harry and produced his own programme, Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me, to raise important awareness for the condition. In recognition of such valuable conversation on his sexuality, he was voted the most influential gay person in the UK in The Independent on Sunday Pink List, awarded Stonewall’s Hero of the Year award and received a CBE in 2020.
Gareth has also become a popular TV personality, featuring in Celebrity Big Brother, The Jump and Get Your Act Together. When booked as an LGBT speaker, Gareth regularly champions equality and remains committed to ending homophobia both in sport and society. His fascinating and often heart-breaking life story is sure to captivate audiences, making an impact time and time again.
Gareth Thomas is regularly booked to engage audiences at events, read their latest feedback below:
“I would like to add my personal thanks to Gareth for his openness and for helping to move the dial on D&I in bp considerably. It was an honour to be on the call with him”
“Wow, wow, wow !! My favourite so far. Gareth was truly inspirational, made us laugh and cry. We have never had a speaker receive such a long round of applause before. Everyone was talking about it afterwards. Thank you very much for another great speaker, look forward to working with you again very soon.”
“Gareth was amazing yesterday, such a lovely friendly guy, and his talk was extremely emotional and powerful. We have had some fantastic feedback. Please pass on my thanks to Gareth, it was great to have him here taking part in our Pride events for 2019.”
“The event was a resounding success and Gareth Thomas was absolutely amazing. Professional, accommodating, attention to detail and incredible fun. It is by far the best event that I have hosted so far. Gareth did not disappoint in any way whatsoever. All my guests are still raving about the event and “Alfie” this morning.”-
The event was really well received, with lots of positive comments from colleagues who attended. As I said in my voicemail, Gareth is truly inspirational – so humble and honest. His story was incredibly moving and we really enjoyed being able to speak to him today. We would like to say a big thank you again!