An Audience with Gareth Thomas - Wednesday 21st April at 11am
Former Wales and British Lions Rugby Captain and LGBT Advocate
Not only is Gareth Thomas one of Wales’ most memorable international former rugby stars, but he has continued to make influential contributions as an LGBT advocate. From breaking records on the pitch for his country to breaking the stigma surrounding HIV positive, Gareth is an inspiration in every aspect of his personal and professional life. Highly sought after to share his story as an after-dinner speaker, Gareth will discuss his extensive career highlights, being gay in a predominantly male sport and overcoming hurdles, whatever they may be.
As the second-highest Wales try scorer, a record that still stands over a decade since his retirement, Gareth’s talents on the pitch are undeniable. A Rugby League and Rugby Union player, the versatile player is still ranked internationally as the 13th highest try scorer to this day, a testament to his dominance in the sport. Formerly the most capped Welsh player, with 100 caps for his country, Gareth had the honor of captaining Wales and the British & Irish Lions, in addition to being named captain for his clubs: Bridgend and Celtic Warriors. Securing a hat-trick of tries in the 1995 World Cup, winning the 2005 Grand Slam, and gaining his 100th cap in the 2007 World Cup are some of the prize moments of Gareth’s career.
Becoming the first openly gay professional rugby union player in 2009, Gareth was motivated to live unapologetically as himself and support other young players with representation in the industry. Since his announcement, Gareth has made influential contributions as an LGBT advocate, being named the Most Influential Gay Person in the UK 2010 by The Independent and Stonewall’s Hero of the Year for his work. The focus of the documentary ‘Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me’ Gareth further aimed to reduce the stigma around HIV positive status, and his honest account in the book ‘Proud’ won him Sports Book of the Year 2015. As a speaker, Gareth discusses the need to end homophobia and support diversity and inclusion in every industry.
A celebrity across sports, advocacy, and the media, Gareth has made several high-profile appearances in the likes of Celebrity Big Brother, Dancing on Ice, and The Jump. He continues his contributions to rugby as a regular commentator for ITV Sports, and now supports one of the widest fan bases of any sports star.