Devin Ibañez (he/him) is the world's first openly gay Major League Rugby player and was one of the first players ever signed to the New England Free Jacks in 2019.
Born and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, Ibañez has been playing rugby for over 13 years and his love for the sport has taken him all over the world. He has played in Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada, and Israel in addition to his home country. In 2017, he represented the USA and went on to win gold against South Africa in the World Maccabiah Games.
He continued his success by helping to lead his hometown club, Mystic River, to the 2018 D1 National Championship. Since coming out via an Instagram post in December 2020, Ibañez has set his sights on being an outspoken voice for all members of the LGBTQ+ community who are struggling to be themselves in sport.
Devin’s hopes for LGBT equality in sport
Rugby has been my biggest passion since I was 15 years old. However, despite coming out to my parents at 11 years old, I always felt like I had to keep my sexuality separate from my rugby career.
I convinced myself that I would be viewed as a distraction and ostracized within the sport and lose the opportunities I had worked so hard for. The idea of being known as “that gay rugger” terrified me because I only wanted to be known for my abilities and work ethic, not my sexuality. But since coming out and sharing my love for my partner publicly, I realized that my experiences have given me the power to inspire others to be themselves in sport by sharing my story.
I want to use this opportunity to speak up on issues I felt afraid to speak about for all those years. Pro men’s rugby players rarely speak up on LGBTQ+ issues and have been especially silent about trans rights. Following last year's ban by World Rugby on trans women participating in International Competition, I want to speak out and hold our sport accountable to being open to everyone. I am honored to have this opportunity to work together with Stonewall UK!