Exclusive interview with Devin Ibañez and Fergus Wade

by James Martini

Devin & Fergus

Let's talk about you as a couple. How did you meet each other and what exactly made you fall in love with your partner?

We met when Fergus was in Boston doing research at Harvard Medical School, and like most couples nowadays we found each other on a dating app.

Fergus: I fell in love with Devin’s silly, fun-loving personality. We instantly bonded over our similar sense of humor and love for adventure. We are so different in so many ways and I think that works well for us, we always have new things to introduce each other to.

Devin: I instantly fell for Fergus’s kind heart and constant radiance of love and joy. He was so easy to be around and he always made me smile and laugh. I never had to worry or feel self-conscious around him. He gave me space to just be myself fully and be loved for it. It is impossible not to be happy when I am with him.

How is your relationship with your parents now?

Fergus: I have a great relationship with my family and Devin’s. We are both extremely lucky to have such accepting and loving parents. My family loves Devin so much and I can’t wait for him to spend more time with them over in the UK. I miss Devin’s parents a lot – they were my adopted family when I lived over in the US. Devin: Our relationship with our families is great! My parents and sister have never been so proud of me and his family feels the same way. They have all been incredibly supportive across the board over the years. I never would be where I am now without their constant love and support.

Is it a love story with a renowned sports champion tricky to manage?

Devin: At times it can be. It was most difficult before Devin came out.

Going to watch Dev’s matches and pretending to be just a friend could be pretty upsetting.

It’s also been a challenge trying to support Devin in the world of elite sports, with constant competition and evaluation there were times of extreme highs and lows. There have been so many amazing parts, and I’m so proud of Devin and all his accomplishments.

What would you like to suggest to other guys who still live in hiding? (Devin and Fergus)

Fergus: From the perspective of the partner that is openly out, I would suggest not pressuring a partner who is in the closet to come out before they are ready. It’s important to support them and help them to do so when they feel comfortable and the situation is right. It’s also fair to seek reassurance and love from your partner in ways they can express it without being open to everyone about your relationship.

Devin: The best advice I can give to those who are still not out is to take your time. There is no rush or time limit that you need to come out in. Take the time to build a strong support system around you and to become comfortable with yourself and your sexuality. The other piece of advice I will give is to take the time to think about the unexpected love you may receive. I spent so much of my time in the closet worrying about how other people would react or perceive me after coming out and that fear paralyzed me for years. Since coming out I have received so much unexpected love and support that it has been overwhelming. Take the time to picture how that love and support may feel as well, don’t just focus on the potential negativity.

Do you have a special plan for the next future to share with us?

Devin: I am hoping to get over to the UK in the next couple of months, and then Fergus will head over to the US for the coming year as a break from his medical studies to do research. From there, Fergus will have to return to the UK to finish studying and I’m hoping to work in between there and the US if possible. I hope to do as much public speaking and advocacy as I can in hopes of being as visible as possible. I want to be that representation for others that I did not have within the world of rugby. Hopefully, at that point, we’ll be able to find a place of our own and get our own big fluffy dog!

Anything else you want to share with our audience?

We only want to say thank you so much for taking interest in our story. Always know that things will get better and a whole welcoming community is here to embrace you. We both hope to advocate to improve things for the LGBT+ community in sport and beyond.

Lastly, I just want to bring the light the recent World Rugby ban of trans athletes from international competition. It has been devastating to the trans community in rugby. I am currently working with @Rugbyforall.co on ways to push back against this ban. Please follow their page for updates on ways to support the cause and sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/world-rugby-keep-rugby-open-to-trans-women-athletes?recruiter=928076679&utm_content=buffer56835&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer How has your life changed after your decision to be out? Devin: Life has been different in a lot of ways since I came out. I feel as though the world is open to me now. Before coming out, I struggled to find a path forward for myself in life. I wanted to find something I was passionate about that was meaningful to me. Since coming out I feel such a sense of pride. I feel like I am finally doing something I can look back on and be proud of.

I have been able to look ahead to the future with excitement for the first time in a long time. Not feeling as though I have this massive step to take that is weighing me down. I just can’t wait for what the future holds and all of the people I will have a chance to connect with within the coming years.

Did your decision affect your job? Did you find support inside the sports environment?

Devin: It has not really affected my job, besides me being busier and more tired haha. Since coming out, I have been very busy with media and trying to be as outspoken as possible. It has been an amazing experience, but it has been a bit difficult managing work, training, and my long-distance relationship as well as my own personal routines.

My teammates have been incredibly supportive since I came out though! I have been truly moved by the amount of love and respect they have shown me. It makes me feel as though there is hope for other athletes who are in a similar situation that I once was.

We know that your partner Fergus has played an important part in your decision. Can you explain why?

Devin: Fergus was with me no matter how difficult things got. I told him for many years that I was going to come out and do this. But there were many times I stumbled along the way and wasn’t sure if I would be able to carry on. He always assured me that no matter what happened that I would never be a failure in his eyes. That I never could be a failure to him and that he loved me and thought I was the most amazing person he had met.

Without Fergus, I never would have had the courage to come out in the way that I did. He made it about something greater than myself. I didn’t want to hide our relationship anymore. I wanted to celebrate the person who had meant so much to me over the years. I wanted to come out to tell him how much he meant to me and to share that love with the world.

Devin, we'd love to know more about you. You appear to us like an Angel through Fergus’s words. What do you do, where do you live, what you like, etc...

I am a professional rugby player and I have been playing rugby for 12 years! However, that is not my full-time job. I work as a maintenance worker for the Cooperative for Human Services. It is a non-profit that manages group homes for adults with disabilities.

I live in Boston, Massachusetts USA and Fergus is based in London England.

I love traveling and going on road trips and hikes with Fergus. I also love just about anything active or competitive. I play video games in my spare time as well and I’m also a massive fan of Drag Race.