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Nick McCarthy comes out as gay and pays tribute to Josh Cavallo


Irish rugby star Nick McCarthy has paid tribute to Australian trailblazer Josh Cavallo after coming out publicly as gay.

The Leinster halfback told his coaches about his sexuality in November before informing his teammates in January and then the wider world on Monday.

McCarthy said he had drawn strength from Adelaide United midfielder Cavallo – who came out publicly in October – as well as a gay NFL player and a Leinster teammate.

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“I’m a private person so I was unsure about coming out publicly,” McCarthy said.

“But looking at Carl Nassib or Josh Cavallo coming out and Jack Dunne here in Leinster and how he spoke publicly last year about his bisexuality, has helped me a lot. I’ve had good conversations with each of them and they’ve been hugely encouraging.

“In turn, I feel if I can now help others come out in professional sport or in their everyday lives and make being gay more normal and not a thing to be worried about, then that is a positive. I’m so much happier than I was a few months ago and I’m optimistic for the future. I struggled with coming out for a while and it was starting to impact on me and my happiness so it was the right decision.”

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McCarthy, 27, is a former Ireland age-group international.

He told Leinster’s website that the stigma around his sexuality made him consider walking away from professional sport “because I just didn’t think I could come out while playing rugby.”

“It’s not common for a male athlete to come out in sport, never mind professional rugby, and it’s probably something that I didn’t want to believe or accept myself either.

“I needed to accept being gay myself before I could address it with others. I have great friends in rugby but I didn’t know how they would take it.

“My experience, since coming out though has been entirely positive.

“I have realised that anyone who cares about you, just wants you to be happy.”

Leinster and Ireland captain Johnny Sexton said he was proud of McCarthy and believed his teammate’s bravery would inspire others.

“I’ve known Nick since his time in the academy so to hear him talk to us so openly about his struggles has been tough but we are now just delighted for Nick and that he can be himself,” Sexton said.

“We talk about looking after our brothers a lot in here and the last few months has been about that, looking out for Nick. And that will continue. By speaking openly about his sexuality, Nick will be a role model for others and we couldn’t be prouder of him.”

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