Harlequins' Jade Konkel on the moment she came out, proposing to her girlfriend and LGBT rights in rugby ahead of Quins' pride match
Harlequins rugby player Jade Konkel has shared her coming out story ahead of the club's pride match this weekend.
Quins men are playing London Irish in the Premiership this weekend and the club have a pride theme, which inspired Konkel to share her story.
She said: "When I was 18 I was travelling back and forth to Glasgow to play rugby and I was driving back to Glasgow and I started crying in the car because I knew I had been keeping it a big secret from everybody.
"I pulled over and I decided to text my mum to explain it, I thought 'I'm not face to face with her maybe it'll be easier'. I text her and my sister. To be honest it's still kind of sad now because I didn't tell my dad because I was kind of worried about what he would say so my mum actually told my dad.
"It kind of hurt him that I couldn't tell him but I was that worried what people might think that I felt I couldn't tell anybody."
Konkel is thankful that she plays in a sport that does not discriminate or judge her for being gay, something she hopes can translate to other sports.
"Rugby is definitely one of the most comfortable environments that I have ever been in," she added.
"When I was growing up there wasn't much women's sport to see so the fact there's a lot more women's sport to see I think people need to be a lot more open.
"If I had seen someone that was playing international sport who was gay I might have been a lot more comfortable to come out. People can be that for other people, to show that it's okay and it's normal and something that should be accepted no matter what."
Konkel's story has a happy ending as she was proposed to by her long-term girlfriend Helen Roberts in December.
But the twist in their proposal story is that they both planned to do it on the same day.
"We proposed to each other on the same day," she said.
"She's the most supportive and loving person that I've ever met. We got engaged the day after the Big Game, we went for a walk, it was really nice and romantic.
"We both did it very similarly as well. I put post-it notes around the house so I did it through post-it notes and she had written a massive memory letter which was really nice.
"It was super romantic and I'm absolutely delighted and can't wait to finally get married."