England wicketkeeper Steven Davies comes out of closet

London, Feb 28 (PTI) England wicketkeeper Steven Davieshas become the first active professional cricketer to declarethat he is gay.

The 24-year-old, who has played eight one-dayers and fiveTwenty20 internationals for England, said he has discussed thematter with his family and considers it right to open up abouthis sexuality.

"I''m comfortable with who I am - and happy to say who Iam in public," Davies told ''The Daily Telegraph''.

"This is the right time for me...I feel it is right to beout in the open about my sexuality. If more people do it, themore acceptable it will become. That must be a good thing.

"To speak out is a massive relief for me, but if I canjust help one person to deal with their sexuality then that''sall I care about," he added.

The former England under-19 captain said he has alreadyrevealed it to his senior national teammates, who have beensupportive.

Davies said having found acceptance among his family andteammates, he was now looking forward to getting the supportof the fans as well.

"I hope it''s all going to be fine with the fans," Daviessaid.

"If there is any abuse or anything then I don''t need toworry about those people giving it out. The people that matterto me are family, friends and my team-mates, and everyone hasbeen so amazing, that''s what counts," he added.

Sussex bowler Alan Hansford, who played first classcricket between 1989 and 1992, is considered the only otheropenly gay player but he revealed his sexual orientation onlyafter his retirement.

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