Keegan Hirst

The First British Professional Rugby League Player to Publicly Come Out as Gay, Former Professional Rugby Player for Wakefield Trinity & Recipient of the Editor's Special Award at the 2015 Attitude Awards

  • Delivered the TEDx talk titled ‘A Talk About Hope’
  • Starred on First Dates on Channel 4 & W’s Celebrity Haunted Hotel

Keegan Hirst, a former professional rugby player, has transitioned from a successful sports career into a prominent advocate for diversity and inclusion. His journey from playing for teams such as Dewsbury Rams, Batley Bulldogs, and Halifax, to becoming the first British professional rugby league player to publicly come out as gay, has positioned him as a symbol of courage and resilience. Hirst’s openness about his sexuality, a revelation made in a ground-breaking 2015 interview with the Sunday Mirror, marked a pivotal moment in sports culture. Since retiring, he has focused on leveraging his platform to foster awareness and drive change, making him an in-demand keynote speaker who champions acceptance and empowerment.

Keegan’s rugby career, which began with an academy spot at Bradford Bulls and saw him making his professional debut with Hunslet Hawks in 2008, is as noteworthy as his advocacy. Having played 283 games, including a stint in the Super League with Wakefield Trinity, his sportsmanship on the field was always commendable. However, it’s his off-field bravery that truly sets him apart. The decision to retire in 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed Keegan to dedicate himself fully to his new vocation: inspiring others through his personal story and promoting inclusivity in all aspects of life.

The candidness with which Keegan Hirst shared his struggle with his sexuality, including the battles with suicidal thoughts before coming out, has resonated with many. His transition to a public figure offering hope and encouragement, especially to those grappling with their identity, underscores the transformative power of authenticity. Keegan’s ventures into online body coaching and appearances on television and in magazines further amplify his message, earning him accolades such as the Editor’s Special Award at the 2015 Attitude Awards. His influence extends beyond the LGBT+ community, touching anyone seeking to reconcile their inner truth with external expectations.

Keegan Hirst embodies the essence of what it means to be a diversity and inclusion keynote speaker. His narrative, from professional athlete to a beacon of hope and acceptance, is not just inspiring but also instrumental in challenging and changing societal norms. His speaking engagements, including a notable TEDx talk titled ‘A Talk About Hope’, provide poignant insights into the journey of self-acceptance and the importance of being true to oneself. For event organisers seeking a speaker who can deliver a powerful, emotive message on overcoming adversity and embracing diversity, Keegan Hirst is an unparalleled choice.

Official Testimonials

Keegan Hirst is regularly booked to engage audiences at events, read their latest feedback below:

“Everyone loved it! I’ve had so much good feedback so here are a couple of messages that were sent to me following his session: ‘I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed listening to Keegan Hirst share his story; it was provocative and moving. His message of being true to oneself was positive and relatable; I was very shy during adolescence and found it difficult to express myself for many years, so Keegan’s story certainly resonated’ and ‘I really got a lot out of this today, as did my team. It was inspirational and relatable in lots of ways – thanks for organising – was a great session!’. I was also really moved as we had an employee that took Keegan’s story home to share with his wife and daughters, and the following day his daughter discussed her sexuality with him for the first time ever, he has shared that this was a life-changing moment and it’s made their family really happy. We had so many great comments and Keegan was relatable for so many reasons, his ability to use his own story and bring it to life in a way that can resonate with everyone was something that really blew all of my expectations out of the water, and I am really glad we chose Keegan for our Pride Day event.”

Tasha, Culture & Engagement Manager, Cubis Systems

“Keegan hosted a Pride Month event for us and shared his personal story of coming out in the face of adversity and how vital it is that allies of the LGBTQ+ community support their colleagues by creating safe spaces and challenging any unacceptable behaviour. Keegan’s story was very well received and people commented on how down-to-earth and empowering they found him to be. Thank you to Keegan for helping us to celebrate Pride Month!”

Vistry Group

“I just wanted to pass on my thanks from me and my colleagues here at Bee House, we thoroughly enjoyed the talk by Keegan and it was a lovely way to bring me, a member of the community and my colleagues, together. I really do hope that this is used as a catalyst for more things LGBTQIA+ related to happen around A&P as I think we have started a really great & important conversation between team members and hopefully company wide.”

“I thought it was brilliant, really inspiring and so great to see so many people engaged and asking questions. He explained everything so well. He has clearly been through a lot as I imagine most gay men have, but he appears to be very happy now and comfortable and confident in talking about his experiences good and bad. I took a lot from it.”

John, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, Ashdown Phillips & Partners Ltd

To enquire about Keegan Hirst for your event or corporate function, simply contact us via or call a booking agent on 0203 9816 297.