Page last updated at 09:04 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Ex-Wales captain Gareth Thomas gay celebration patron

Gareth Thomas captained Wales and the Lions
Gareth Thomas captained Wales and the British and Irish Lions

Ex-Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas has become patron of a celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

LGBT History Month, marked every February, will this year focus on making LGBT people more visible in sport in 2011 and 2012.

The 35-year-old Cardiff Blues star became the first British rugby player to come out as a gay man in December.

He said he was "honoured" to take the role and hoped to "make a difference".

Thomas, who also led the British Lions in 2005 and has 100 caps for Wales, has been open about his experiences of homophobia since coming out and has said he is determined to change things for the next generation.

"I feel honoured to have been asked to be the patron of LGBT History Month," he said.

"I don't want to just make this a token role however; I intend to be hands on within my role, not only to make a difference to others, but to also grow myself."

LGBT History Month co-chair Tony Fenwick said Thomas was a "role model".

"Gareth Thomas is a legend in the world of rugby. For someone of his stature to come out will be of enormous benefit to young players," he said.

"I deeply admire his honesty and his genuine commitment to kick homophobia into touch. We're already talking about an exciting project.

"We're honoured to have him on board as a patron. He's already showing himself to be a respected role model and we look forward to working with such a wonderful ambassador."

LGBT History Month aims to raise the visibility of LGBT identities, culture and history through the promotion of events in local communities and in national institutions.

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