Gareth Thomas’ Media Outing
We’ve all heard of Gareth Thomas - the International Rugby player whose HIV status has recently been shared most grotesquely via the tabloid media. We have to say that we are feeling very angry about his treatment and it’s left us determined to share some of the positives to come out of this story.
Court Battle and Bribery Attempt
After seeing Thomas’ documentary about living with HIV we were overwhelmed by how he found himself amid court proceedings and being the victim of bribery when wanting to keep his private life just that, private. He’s spoken candidly about being scared that others would not want to hug him or let their children near him if they found out he was living with HIV. A notion that is heart-breaking as the reality is that many people do still hold these misguided beliefs about HIV.
Back in 2017, Thomas' parents opened their front door to be confronted by a journalist that told them of their son's HIV status before he had shared this information with them. Thomas credits his parents with being unflappable in the face of this awful intrusion but remains deeply hurt and angry that the journalist took away his right to share his medical information with those he loved when he was ready.
It seems unbelievable that a tabloid paper could be so crass in its reporting that the personal life of their subject is not even on their radar. Thomas is very lucky to have the type of parents that love and accept him the way they do!
Thomas bravely told the world of his life with HIV and shared a no-nonsense announcement that explained he would not continue to live his life in fear. The world rallied around, with even the young British Royals giving him their full support; Prince Harry and Prince William both publicly backed Thomas with Harry praising him for ‘saving lives and shattering stigma’. It wasn’t something that he should have felt compelled to do, however, by doing so Thomas was able to receive the love and support he deserves for sharing his private life so openly.
The Future is Bright
Whilst we are appalled at the treatment Thomas received from the tabloids, we are also pleased to see the positive results of his frank, honest, and brave disclosure.
Here are the highlights:
- Some good news surfaced the day after he shared his news with the world when Terrence Higgins Trust reported the largest amount of traffic to their website this year.
- There have been more orders of HIV self-test kits and more people are talking about living with HIV.
- People have taken a stance against the tabloid that outed him and are actively boycotting them in support of Gareth.
This post was written by Rachel.
Rachel spends her time writing, proofreading, and editing. She has spent many years writing both professionally and personally and is an absolute stickler for accurate spelling, punctuation, and grammar! She lives in South Wales with her wife and two sons.