Gay New Zealand residents just got another role model in the world of sports.
Heath Davis has become New Zealand’s first international male cricketer to speak publicly about being gay. In 1994, Davis joined the Black Caps and played until 1997. He was a celebrated athlete in his sport and has now come out an episode of the documentary series Scratched: Aotearoa’s Lost Sporting Legends.
Keep in mind, Davis isn’t the first international male cricketer to come out as gay. STEVE Davis from England was the first to do that back in 2011.
Despite that, Heath Davis coming out is still very important. The New Zealander shared that he started exploring his sexuality on his first tour in England in 1994.
“The first tour to England [in 1994], I was starting to discover myself, was going to a few bars and things privately to see what life was… well, you are on the other side of the world, no one is going to know you,” he said. “I left that part of my life there. There was a lot of that, just keeping your personal life separate.”
Davis then got candid about how his experiences there started excitingly but soon became depressing.
“It was lonely,” he recalled. “Going to saunas and seedy places to get sex because you didn’t want to be seen and that sort of stuff. I had systems and people in place where I could talk about these things but I didn’t feel comfortable.”
“I certainly wasn’t living a gay life, wasn’t part of the scene, didn’t have a partner. There was nothing to tie it to,” he said in the interview with The Spinoff.
“I was sick of hiding it,” the cricketer adds. “There was this part of my life I needed to express.” His teammates didn’t care, or at least didn’t give Davis any problems about being gay, “aside from a bit of petty shit from young guys in the team.”
The former athlete then shares that he had his first gay relationship when he was 27 while playing cricket professionally for his hometown of Wellington.
“I just wanted a partner… I wanted a normal life. The life I’d grown up in wasn’t that. There was a part of me that needed to break free and I wanted a partner to love. That was really all.”
Now 50, Davis shares that he found peace in Auckland, and later Brisbane, where he has been open about his sexual orientation with his loved ones.
“All the stars aligned to move,” he said. “Everyone in Auckland knew I was gay; in the team it didn’t seem to be that big an issue. Maybe some of the young ones if you’re sharing a room with them or something, but just petty s**t. Things I thought might have been issues weren’t really. I just felt free.”
Source: The Spinoff,