Continuing on his tour of playing people whose jobs might explain a mussed up face, Mickey Rourke has announced that he’ll be playing gay rugby player, Gareth Thomas. Oopsie, I said that wrong - according to the Mickster - he’ll be playing “a man who plays rugby who is gay”. See, if you say it the first way, you’re defining him by his sexuality, never mind that his sexuality is the major point of interest in making a movie about Gareth Thomas. Asked the first question about this role, Rourke immediately corrected the interviewer, saying “You’re not supposed to say that. …this is one thing that he and I talked about. This is something that’s really important. We’re doing a movie about a man who plays rugby who is gay.”
I understand and agree with the underlying point. A man or woman should never be defined by his or her sexuality. For the most part, a person’s lawful bedroom practices are not public business. But in a time where gay rights are being fought for and people come out to either make a stance or to be supportive to their fellow man/woman, that proclamation could be a turning point in another person’s life. From his statements, Thomas clearly wants to inspire younger people and let them know it’s okay to come out so they can be accepted as “talented, gay rugby player(s)”. He also supports a telephone service that provides counsel to young people and has said that if his coming out “…makes one young lad pick up the phone, it will have been worth it.”
Now admittedly, I know little about rugby and up until now, nothing much about Gareth Thomas - but I do know that in the manly-man sports world, coming out is a big deal. Thomas is currently the only professional team sport athlete who is openly gay. (SI) And like it or not the whole point of a movie about Gareth Thomas will be that he is a professional rugby player who came out; his story is an inspirational one. The language of how Gareth is referred to is clearly important to him in his own life, but for the purpose of a film, by gum he’s going to be a gay rugby player. And I certainly hope and believe he is proud of that fact. He is, by all accounts, a great rugby player and I look forward to the day he is known as just that. For now, in a time when all people are not treated equally, a film that tells the story of his life struggle and own acceptance of himself is a gift he can give to everyone. I hope Mickey gets it right.
(Source: Bleeding Cool)