Levi Davis’ coming out warmed my anxious little heart

Do I have to start watching rugby now?

Photo of two rugby teams in a scrum (Levi Davis not pictured)
Rugby: a pretty straight game, normally.
Photo by Olga Guryanova on Unsplash

As a journalist whose day job is writing for the membership magazine of a women’s charity, I haven’t written about a man since 2018. I’ve also never covered sports in my life. But I’m breaking that streak today because rugby union player Levi Davis coming out as bi is one of my favourite things that’s happened in 2020.

In an exclusive interview with the Mail on Sunday on September 12, Davis became the only currently active out professional men’s rugby player. He’s certainly the first out bisexual in the men’s game, and at 22 he’s the first player to come out in the early stages of his career. And as a Black man, he’s in a cohort of bisexuals who still get very little airtime.

“Sometimes I feel it would be easier if I was gay and nothing else. Then I could identify myself and it would be easier to explain,” he told the Mail. That sound you hear is the rest of the UK’s bisexuals struggling to pull the sheets back over our innermost insecurities.

Davis said the response from his teammates and friends has been “overwhelmingly supportive” after years of trying to sort out his attraction to men and his dream of marrying a woman. He was especially pleased that his former teammates at Bath haven’t stopped bantering with him.

“If they had been too tender-hearted, I would have been worried. I’m still a rugby player, after all!”

A black and white photo showing one male rugby player standing while another player bends in front of him, his head at crotch height. Both are covered in mud.
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

It reminded me of the first time one of my straight work pals lobbed a good-natured “indecisive” joke at me. Everyone had been very proper up until that point and it came out of nowhere and I loved her for it. A real “Aww, you did the reading!” moment.

It remains to be seen what Davis will be up against. We might be in an age where the Daily Mail website will happily post a glowing profile of a Black bisexual rugby player but it’s also an age where a same-sex pairing on Strictly will attract 189 official complaints. For now, though, this story is a bright spot. Davis got to put into words so many things that bisexuals rarely get to voice in the mainstream media: being attracted to different genders in different ways; wishing, for the sake of others, that we were more straightforward; the fear that we’ll be seen as either one thing or the other depending on our relationships; and an optimistic outlook, which is refreshing in a world where bi voices tend to be anxious writers and artists who think too much (this is a self-callout).

“Even in the deepest darkest depths, I’ve always thought I was destined for good things – and that I’d somehow make it,” he told the Mail.

You will, kiddo.

Author: Ellie Wilson

I’m a features and lifestyle journalist of six years’ experience. I spent 18 months in 2017-18 writing profiles of businessmen and I haven’t written about a single man since. Thanks to formative obsessions with both Lord of the Rings and Anne of Green Gables, I like my entertainment wholesome, gay and overly invested in trees. I am white, cis?, middle-class and have no diagnosed disabilities, pronouns she/her. You can see my work at thephasemag.com and elliewilsonwrites.com, and find me on Twitter @writative.

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