Former test rugby referee Nigel Owens has shared to Twitter a shocking homophobic letter he recently received.
The most decorated referee in test rugby history, Owens publicly came out in 2007, and revealed that he had contemplated suicide due to his struggles with his identity.
On Tuesday afternoon, Owens shared a photo of a horrendous letter he received recently.
The letter references scripture, and is littered with homophobic language, calling homosexuality an "abomination".
Nigel Owens: Ex-ref shares shocking abuse he received
In his tweet, Nigel Owens explained his reasoning for sharing the letter. He said that he had deliberated for some time on whether it was the right choice to share such shocking language.
However, Owens ultimately decided that sharing it, and making known the extent and vitriol of the abuse received by members of the LGBTQ+ community, was the only way to continue pushing forward the fight for equality and equity.
I've thought long and hard about posting this letter I received in the post a few weeks ago signed by a Steel Worker PT.
But unless we start calling out these kind of people nothing will change. It hurts and there is no need for all this hate. #BeKind
Warning: Readers may find the below letter upsetting
I’ve thought long and hard about posting this letter I received in the post a few weeks ago singed by a Steel Worker PT. But unless we start calling out these kind of people nothing will change. It hurts and there is no need for all this hate. #BeKind pic.twitter.com/ocRBSHucr4
— Nigel Owens MBE (@Nigelrefowens) November 22, 2022
The letter received by Nigel Owens also makes reference to former Welsh international player Gareth Thomas, who publicly came out in 2009. Thomas revealed he was HIV positive in 2019, and has spent the years since attempting to break the stigma surrounding the disease.
The letter is not the first incident of abuse which Owens has shared on social media in recent days.
Earlier this week, he revealed that he had been locked out of his Facebook account for sharing a screenshot of an abusive message he received on Instagram. The message used a slur to describe Owens and commented on his recent criticism of Rassie Erasmus.
I shared a post on Facebook of someone who was posting homophobic comments at me, and Facebook have blocked ME for 30 days. Not the person who was actually posting the homophobic comments. Unbelievable. And now I can’t contact Facebook to explain 🙈🙈
— Nigel Owens MBE (@Nigelrefowens) November 20, 2022
The abuse received by Nigel Owens is nothing short of abhorrent, and his bravery in sharing these instances must be commended by the rugby public. There is no place for such homophobic abuse in rugby or in any sport.