Last month, the Ealing Trailfinders and ex-Bath rugby player Levi Davis told the world that he is bisexual, having previously come out to his then-Bath Rugby teammates in April. He is now one of only a few players within the men’s game to have come out, and comfortably the youngest.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday in September, Davis shared how he initially panicked after sending a group Whatsapp message to Bath players telling them of his sexuality.
“Hi guys. I just want to tell you something that’s been eating away at me for four years now. I want to be open and honest with you boys, as friends and team-mates. I’m bisexual. It’s something I have known since I was 18… none of you lot are on my radar… so it’s OK.”
Choosing to sign off with a light quip is indicative of Davis’ general demeanour. However, in the months leading up to his decision to come out, his mental health had deteriorated, with mounting anxiety and depression arising from “a sense of shame.” Speaking later to Ugo Monye in an interview for BT Sport, Davis spoke of how keeping his sexuality secret had “been eating away at [him] slowly” over four years, and was a factor that lead to a deterioration in his behaviour and on field form following a stint on the Celebrity edition of the X Factor last year. “I felt I needed to be this macho man, which I still am, but it felt like I needed to reinforce this more.”
Since coming out, Davis has found support from those in the game. Firstly, his teammates quick to offer words of support. “Mate, we support you”, “You’re really brave”, “This changes nothing”, “Fair play to you”. The understanding of his teammates, the club and his family has helped Davis improve his mindset and has spoken of the need for people to express their true selves.
“Thankfully we can now discuss mental health more openly. And in the same way, I want people to feel that they can be who they are and that it is OK to be who they are.” “Hiding who you are can kill you – and has killed people.”
Davis is well aware that he has never quite fallen into a traditional stereotype: “I realise, though, that I am a bit niche and difficult to categorise: a Black, bisexual, privately educated rugby professional. Even Black people who hear me on the phone sometimes say, “You don’t sound Black, you sound white.””
Relieved of the weight of his secret, and grateful of the “overwhelming” support from the Rugby community, Davis is “excited” for the year ahead with Ealing, his music and, most importantly, himself. “I don’t know yet where I am going, but by talking today I can walk hand-in-hand with whoever I want and it won’t matter anymore because it’s out there.”
Image Credit: The Sun