Photo: Twitter (Jack Dunne)

Professional rugby player Jack Dunne has publicly come out as bisexual.

The 22-year-old athlete, who is currently a member of Ireland’s Leinster team, spoke about his sexuality on 26 June as part of a Leinster Rugby panel discussion, called Building Allies with Pride, as well as BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast.

Dunne, who’s been out to his friends and family for the past four or five years, said it was finally time for him to go public with his bisexuality because “there are some kids across the country who could do with a role model.”

“I kind of realized when I was 15 or 16, but you are in a school full of of teenage boys,” said the star.

“A lot of them would say things that they wouldn’t even be thinking about, but they are just doing it out of ignorance. So when you hear that you kind of just want to keep it to yourself.”

He also called bisexuality a “blessing and a curse” because, “You can hide it way easier. You can go out with the lads and do all that stuff, but it is easier to not be true to yourself.”

Over time, Dunne came to terms with his sexuality and opened up to his peers. Although he was met with support from a majority of his classmates, there were a select biphobic few who claimed it was his stepping stone to being gay.

“In sixth year I told one or two people and they took it really well so I decided to tell everyone and if someone has a problem with it, that’s on them,” he said.

“It went pretty well, there were one or two people who said, ‘You are not bisexual, you are gay and you won’t come out.’ But largely it was overwhelmingly positive so it was a massive weight off the shoulders when I did that.”

Dunne doesn’t want to be referred to as “the bisexual rugby player” but wants to use his platform and be a role model for struggling LGBTQ+ youth.

“It’s definitely on my mind that people could be like, he is the bisexual rugby player, instead of – he is a bisexual who plays rugby. But at the same time, maybe there are some kids across the country who could do with a role model,” he explained.

Later in a tweet, Dunne thanked his followers for “all the kind messages,” adding: “Apologies if I missed anyone’s message, phone has been crazy #pride.”

You can watch the Building Allies with Pride discussion here or below.