Rugby: TJ Perenara hopes Campbell Johnstone's groundbreaking revelation normalises homosexuality within All Blacks environment

Veteran halfback TJ Perenara says he's "super proud' of Campbell Johnstone for going public with his sexuality and becoming the first openly gay All Black, but hopes society reaches a stage where such a revelation doesn't warrant a mention.

On Monday, three-test All Blacks prop Johnstone revealed the struggles he'd endured as a closeted homosexual during his playing days, hoping his coming forth may inspire others in a similar situation.

Perenara - who's become an outspoken advocate on social issues - applauded Johnstone's courage, hoping it enables others to be "authentically themselves" and normalises homosexuality within the game.

Campbell Johnstone during his All Blacks debut in 2005.
Campbell Johnstone during his All Blacks debut in 2005. Photo credit: Photosport

"It shouldn't have to be such a big thing," Perenara told Newshub.

"But that's our current reality. That's where we are in the world at the moment and using the All Blacks platform in such a positive way to put our message out there is awesome.

"Hopefully one day it's not a thing, which would be cool."

Johnstone's announcement triggered an outpouring of support from All Blacks past and present, making headlines across the world.

Perenara said it was a perfect example of how powerful and beneficial a force the All Blacks brand could be beyond the rugby field.

"It's awesome, even for the All Blacks to be able to use that platform to help so many other people," he added. "I think it's only going to do good for the game and do good for people.

"It's only going to allow the message to get to different parts of the world and that's what using a platform for good looks like."

The 79-test international believes it could break down some long-standing stereotypes surrounding the sport in Aotearoa. 

"I think it's massive for the game as a whole and the game here in New Zealand," he said.

"Yes, we're progressing and getting a lot better in that environment. But for people to feel comfortable being authentically themselves, I think this is a massive step."