Jade Konkel Q&A

Q&A blog with Scottish international and premiership rugby player and firefighter where Jade talks us through coming to terms with her sexuality, being a female in a male-dominated workplace, playing rugby and her recent wedding.

1) When did you realise you were gay?
When I was around 14, I remember it clicking that I was in fact attracted to the same sex. I am from quite a small place so I didn’t know any other people who also were gay

2) When did you come out/what is your coming out story?
I came out when I was 18. I text my mum and my sister and came out at bisexual as I thought that would be easier than doing it face time face. I was moving to Glasgow to go to Uni so I thought it was the right time as I would be in a bigger city where I can learn more about myself and my sexuality. My family have always been extremely supportive which made everything so much easier. It was a big weight off the shoulders after finally letting them in.
3) How/when did you start playing rugby?
I played in an all boys team when I was 9 for a year but then there was nowhere to progress onto. When I was 15/16, I played a few times a year for random clubs who needed an extra player and would attend random training days. Essentially anything that allowed me to get game time a few times a year. I probably started playing when I was 17 as I could drive to Glasgow (3.5 hours) to train/play then drive back (3.5 hours). It was the only option I had and I knew I wanted to play so made it work and got very comfortable with early starts and my car singing voice

4) Has the rugby community been accepting?
The rugby community has always been very accepting. Being out in the rugby community has never been a big deal which is refreshing as it just reminds you that it is in fact normal and you love who you love and that’s it!
5) Tell us about your rugby career/achievements?
Ive been around in the rugby scene for quite a while now. I got capped for Scotland in 2013 when I had just turned 19 years old. I’ve had some bad luck with injuries over the years but this year hit the over 50 caps mark which was super exciting!
Throughout my career so far, we had a super exciting tour in South Africa in 2019 and it’s always an honour to play in the Six Nations. 
I started off my main club journey in Glasgow playing for Hillhead-Jordanhill, then moved to Lille in France to play a season in the Top 8 French league which was such an awesome experience. I loved the physicality of the game over there and the open offloading play. I then moved to London and have been at Harlequins since 2018, a club with such fantastic values and brilliant team mates!
We recently went through a very long and stressful World Cup Qualifying process in both Italy and Dubai. After now officially qualifying, we can look forward to the World Cup in New Zealand. I’ve been trying throughout my entire career (many years) to qualify and play in a World Cup so I’m extremely excited for what the rest of this year has to bring!

6) How do you find working in a male-dominated environment? Are there any challenges?
There will always be initial challenges to gain respect in a way and to show you are capable. It’s all a learning experience and I think it’s important to educate or correct people if any issues do arise. I’m pretty good at being able to hold my own even though I’m an introvert at heart.

7) What are your interests outside of rugby?
I’m currently a firefighter in the London Fire Brigade. I absolutely love my job and love the variety of things we need to deal with at different incidents. I’m a sucker for the learning books so when I’ve got time, I love reading up on things that will improve my knowledge. 
I also really enjoy climbing Munro mountains when I do get back to my home land and love the outdoors in general (when it’s not baltic as I’m not a fan of being cold…..)!
Or just reading a good book in the park with a tea or coffee!

8) Advice you would give to your younger self? 

As cliche as it sounds, enjoy the journey. There will be setbacks and hard times but remember to enjoy the process and not just focus on the end outcome. Have fun, make memories and try to not sweat the small stuff!
9) How did you meet your wife?
Wife…. That’s exciting to read! We actually matched on bumble however turns out we had mutual friends so a double date was very quickly organised!
10) Tell us about your wedding
Our wedding day exceeded my expectations in every way possible. I’m not usually one who enjoys all the eyes and focus on me, so I was initially stressed about how the day was going to go or how I’d feel but I can safely say, it was one of the happiest and best days of my life from start to finish. 
The day was full of laughter and love surrounded by some of our favourite people so it will be a day we will cherish for the rest of our lives!

11) What was your first dance song?
Love Someone - Lukas Graham 
Our band sung it live so it was brilliant!

Photo credit: @thisisroot @glorioussport

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“What sets you apart can sometimes feel like a burden and it’s not. And a lot of the time, it’s what makes you great.”

Emma Stone