Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas features on the cover of the UK edition of Men’s Health magazine. It is the first time the magazine has featured an openly HIV positive cover star.
Gareth Thomas, who captained the Welsh rugby team during his successful career, came out as gay in 2009. He revealed he was HIV positive in September of this year, after being pressured to so by tabloid journanlists, who theatended to disclose his status to friends and family.
“I felt I needed to show another side of me, as far as fitness goes. So, I took that fitness to another level, because my mental images of people living with HIV were always frail, always weak. I wanted to display the total opposite of that,” explained Thomas.
“I wanted to do this because who’d have thought, 20 or 30 years ago, that a man living with HIV could be in a magazine like Men’s Health?
Editor of Men’s Health, Toby Wiseman said, “I made the decision to approach Gareth with the offer of a cover profile because, soon after he made his bold announcement in September, it struck me that he symbolizes a positive, thought-provoking change in the way our culture now perceives masculinity.
“At a time when boorish, chauvinistic male stereotypes are rightly being hung out to dry, Gareth represents a more complex, nuanced model. He is the brave, battle-scarred warrior with the tender heart; the leader of men who chooses the love of men.”
The December issue of Men’s Health, featuring Thomas, is on sale now.