Former Wallaby Dan Palmer praised for sharing his coming out story

Retired rugby player Dan Palmer has been praised after he shared his coming out story in a moving piece written for The Sydney Morning Herald

Palmer is the first member of Australia’s national rugby team to come out, and only the second player at an international level to share that they are same-sex attracted.

In his powerful personal essay Palmer shared that while he was playing sport at an elite level he contemplated taking his own life, rather than letting other people know that he was gay. Palmer who played for the Wallabies in 2012, and also played for the Waratahs and the Brumbies between 2008 and 2015 is only the second high profile player to announce they are gay following Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas who came out in 2009.

Palmer shared that in 2015 he was struggling with mental health and opioid abuse, when he finally told a close friend that he was gay, describing it as a turning point in his life. Describing the moment the weight was taken off his shoulders, Palmer said it was a catalyst for changing his whole life.

He retired from sport and headed to the Australian National University in Canberra.

“Since then I have completed a double degree in Science and Psychology, achieved first class Honours in Neuroscience and am now about half-way through my PhD where I study cellular mechanisms of brain function.” Palmer wrote.

Sharing that it was his own thoughts that stopped him from sharing information about his sexuality, Palmer said he never experienced any discrimination from the sporting code, and he continues as a coach for a local team. One of his concerns was not how people would react about his sexuality, but the reaction he would get for not being forthcoming sooner.

Rugby player David Pocock was one of the first to praise Palmer for sharing his experience.

“Dan Palmer is one of the best men I got to know and play alongside in rugby. Incredibly hard working and an actual genius.” Pocock posted to social media. Current Wallabies captain Michael Hooper also welcomed the announcement.

OIP Staff


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QLife: 1800 184 527 and www.qlife.org.au
QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.


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