Peter Caruth becomes Ireland’s first male hockey player to come out as gay

Peter Caruth opened up about his experience coming out as the first openly gay hockey player through an Instagram post.

Close up of Peter Caruth, the player who came out as gay, with a hockey stick during a match
Image: Sinéad Hingston (@irishsportsphotography) via Instagram

Content Warning: Contains descriptions of suicide.

Peter Caruth posted a personal statement on Instagram opening up about his experience coming out as a gay man. By doing so, he becomes the first international male hockey player to talk about his queer sexuality.

Caruth has played for Ireland 142 times and was part of the Irish team who won the bronze medal at the Eurohockey Nations Championship in 2015. He also won club silverware with Monkstown and Annadale. Furthermore, the hockey player participated in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

Peter Caruth revealed dealing with undiagnosed OCD anxiety disorder during his teenage years. But it was in Spain while preparing for the Rio Olympics that Caruth struggled with his mental health the most.

After a suicide attempt that took place in the training camp in Spain, he recalls: “I went to a different physio down here [in Dublin] who said there’s definitely something else going on. He was a more spiritual man – I was like ‘Nah’ but at the back of my mind, I knew he was on to me! He’s worked me out – I almost didn’t go back to him after that because of it.”

Caruth explains that he comes from a religious family and is an athlete in a sport with no openly gay player before him. So, for him, coming out was never something he thought was possible.

“I’ve know [sic] that I’m gay since my early teens and I feel now is the right time to tell everyone”, the Olympian stated.

It was when his best friend, Peter Whan, approached him and said that it was okay if he was gay that he decided to come out.

“In the end, my parents were upset I had held it in so long, no wonder you went through all that to get to this point. I was annoyed at myself I didn’t do it earlier but at least I have done it. It’s what needs to happen more so let’s get this out there and you’ll be fine.” Caruth says during an interview with the Irish Examiner.

In his statement, he says that “the response since coming out has been extremely positive and I have had other male sporting athletes come up to me and say ‘me too’. These moments are spine-tingling and rewarding”

Peter Caruth posted the statement on Instagram less than a week after the Leinster rugby player Nick McCarthy also came out as gay. In the post, he mentions the Leinster scrum-half, saying that “for me, the world is changing with many sporting make athletes having the courage to come out such as Jake Daniels, Craig Napier, Lloyd Wilson and, most recently, Nick McCarthy from Leinster rugby”.

In the end, he says that the hockey community warmly received the news and that since he came out, his OCD has toned down. Caruth hopes coming out to the public helps break the stigma and encourage others in similar positions.

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