I AM...

I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.


Friday, September 4, 2015


Sam Stanley has become the first English rugby union player to come out, and at the age of 23 has probably got the pick of twinks, twerkers and gym-obsessed twats.
But the England Sevens player is already taken, and it’s not who people might expect.

Meet Laurence Hicks.

Sam’s boyfriend is, let’s be fair, a little older. While we’re not entirely sure how old he is, he looks to be a friendly-looking guy in his 40s. He might not be playing rugby or training in the gym everyday like Sam, but he is attractive.

The funny thing is, is that Sam has been gently coming out of the closet for the past three months. You just had to know where to look.

This is from an end of season awards dinner.

They seem like a pretty happy couple. Laurence works for a travel company, has two kids in their 20s, and, quick reminder, he takes Sam to see Bette Midler concerts. That is a good guy.

Why are people surprised by this pairing? Age gaps have been a part of gay relationships for centuries – just ask the Greeks.

It’s not like people mind (that much) about Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black, where there’s a 20 year difference. Or what about Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi? There’s 15 years between them. Stephen Fry and his husband Elliott Spencer? 30 years.

In Sam’s coming out interview to the Sunday Times, he said he considered committing suicide four or five years ago. After that moment, four or five years ago, he met Laurence.

‘I was standing on a bridge…overlooking a motorway in Essex,’ he said. ‘However, looking back, the idea that I would jump was ridiculous but it was as if I was thinking that I could get rid of the pain in one go.

‘You are so worried about what people will think and I thought I couldn’t be a macho rugby player the way I was, and there was nothing else I wanted to do with my life.’

When a lot of gay men and women come out, starting to navigate their sexuality, it’s natural for a lot of them to seek older people to date. These relationships may last a short while or it may last a lifetime, but it’s not as uncommon as you might think.

Sam is at a point where he may still be figuring himself out, and he might need someone more mature to help him out on his personal journey, or he might have simply just found someone that makes sense to have in his life.

This isn’t to say Laurence hasn’t had his own journey, he’s had two kids after all, but he might be the stability that both of them need. But who knows? It’s their relationship.

When people look at relationships with an age gap, some think the older one is always sleazy or the younger one is always a gold-digger. That’s judging at face value. And if you know anything about relationships, judging at face value can be a mistake.
Sam Stanley’s coming out will undoubtedly change the world of rugby. But it should also help to change our expectations of what a relationship is and what it should look like. As long as the love is there, who cares?


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