Devin Ibañez is the first Major League rugby player to publicly come out as gay. From day one, he’s said it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his loving boyfriend, Fergus Wade.
“I have no doubt that without Fergus I never would have had the resolve to put myself out there in this way,” Ibañez wrote on Outsports in 2021. “His love and support gave me a strength that I did not know I had.”
Over the last couple of years, Ibañez has chronicled his romantic journey with Wade on his popular Instagram account, “@thatgayrugger.” That’s where he shared their latest heartwarming update.
This week, Ibañez and Wade attended their first wedding together! They looked absolutely adorbs.
“This was mine and @ferguswade ‘s first wedding together (!!!) and a first glimpse into the madness of the Flynn’s/Wade’s on the dance floor,” he wrote, complete with a laughing face emoji.
“Perhaps more importantly though the first time we have ever been somewhere in a suit together and I think we look quite spiffy if I say so myself.”
Spiffy indeed! We love the bow-tie selections.
Ibañez played for the Major League Rugby team, the New England Free Jacks, during their exhibition 2019 season. He won a gold medal while representing Team USA at the 2017 World Maccabiah Games in Israel, and won the 2018 D1 National Championship with his club team.
He’s continued playing rugby in recent years, most recently with Richmond Rugby.
This year, Ibañez joined myGwork, the largest global business community for LGBTQ+ professionals and inclusive employers. He remains an advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports.
But just as importantly, Ibañez is living an open life. That wasn’t always the case. He dated Wade for three years before his coming out post. “After three years of being through everything imaginable together, it became more and more difficult to not feel comfortable publicly sharing stories of our love and adventures,” Ibañez wrote on Outsports.
The pandemic was especially hard on Ibañez. He lived in the Greater Boston area, and Wade lived in the United Kingdom. In his coming out post, Ibañez wrote it was “hard to not feel helpless and at times hopeless.”
In a subsequent interview with Queerty, Ibañez said that remaining closeted was taking a toll on his relationship with the man he loves.
“It just got to the point where we had the conversation a few times if [coming out] was something I was afraid to do because of backlash, or because I was ashamed of him,” he said. “You can have that conversation any number of times, but actions speak louder than words. So it started to impact me even more when I realized the impact it was taking on him.”
When Ibañez came out, he said the reaction from his teammates was “amazing.”
These days, Ibañez lives in London, but travels between the U.K. and U.S. He celebrated his five-year anniversary with Wade in January.
“Meeting Fergie in 2017 changed my perspective on what was possible for me,” he wrote on Instagram. “He stuck with me until I was confident enough to come out in rugby. He always reminded me it was my own journey and I needed to do what was best for me at my pace.”
Even Ibañez’s Instagram handle, “That Gay Rugger,” celebrates his life as an out and proud gay man. “I will proudly call myself ‘that gay rugger’ in hopes that one day it won’t sound strange in men’s rugby,” he wrote on Facebook. “I know that I am much more than just that gay rugby player, and more than just someone obsessed with rugby.”
That’s certainly true. Ibañez is an athlete, advocate, inspiration, family man and lover. He’s been on a remarkable path, and his partner is right by his side–through the highs and lows.
Scroll down for more pics of Devin and Fergus looking precious together. We see many more weddings in their future…