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Hysen stands tall in 'man's game'

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Tim Franks | 08:48 UK time, Monday, 21 March 2011

Gothenburg is a perfect backdrop to this story. It's stolid, self-confident, quiet and handsome - rather like the inhabitants.

But don't imagine that Gothenburg is dull. Because Sweden's second city harbours a global one-off.

One of its professional footballers is openly gay.

Anton Hysen is the sprightly 20-year-old left-sided midfielder for Utsiktens BK, a team from the fourth tier of the Swedish league. He has gelled hair, a collection of piercings, and the names of his parents tattooed in large, cursive font along his forearms. He also - after a polite enquiry by the Swedish football magazine Offside - came out earlier in March.

Anton Hysen says he has received support since 'coming out'

 

Anton still lives at home, with his mother. In their bright, white living room, Anton is spooning a vat of pasta and meatballs into his mouth, before he heads off to Monday night training.

He exudes quiet self-assurance: "I'm sure of who I am," he says. "I was born this way. I have nothing to hide." He was surprised, he says, about what a stir - globally - his announcement caused. "But everyone's been really positive," he says.

His mother, Helena, is proud. But as Anton wanders into the kitchen to collect his dessert, she also says that she's worried. "There was an ice hockey player," Helena recalls. "He was stabbed for being gay." She is talking of Peter Karlsson, murdered in 1995 by a Swedish neo-Nazi.

Anton, though, remains both relaxed and bemused. He's been inundated with gifts, messages of support, and invitations to swanky events. "Just because I'm gay doesn't mean I want to go," he says of the latest request. "I hate the Eurovision Song Contest."

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His sexuality should not, Anton, asserts be "a big thing". But it is. The reason is that of all the professional footballers playing among Uefa's member associations - let alone those playing in other countries around the world - there appears to be no other avowedly gay player.

The Guardian newspaper's "Secret Footballer" (its anonymous Premier League-playing columnist) says that "the changing room is a very harsh place to survive", but intimates that the banter would not be any worse for a player because of his sexuality, as opposed to, say, his haircut.

So what of the Utsiktens BK changing room? Niklas Tidstrand plays alongside Anton in midfield, and is a friend. He says half the team knew even before Anton came out in public, but still it's been tough. "It's hard to be a gay player," he says. "Because there are so many jokes about 'playing like a man'."

And there's the very rarity of it. "It's really crazy. When we started to talk about this, maybe two years ago, we searched on Google for "gay football players" - and nothing, nothing, it's just jokes. It's scary. So many are gay, but no-one wants to say before their career is over."

And the reason for that was laid bare in the campaign organised by the English FA. Last year, it had to delay the release of its anti-homophobia video, because it couldn't find a footballer to back the message, publicly.

Anton's father, Glenn, knows about English football. Before the 1989/90 season, he signed for Liverpool, and - according to the Independent newspaper, in October 1989 - was a "defender of such class and distinction... (he) has probably altered the course of English football history." Glenn played alongside the "equally cultured" Alan Hansen, and under Kenny Dalglish, and took Liverpool to their last League title.

As it happens, this was just a year before Justin Fashanu became the only English player to come out. Later, after his career had ended, Fashanu hanged himself.

Glenn is still heavily involved in the game, as a commentator and as a coach at Utsiktens. And he, too, is proud of his son. He's fatalistic about the abuse which may yet be hurled at his family. "I haven't heard any bad things yet," he says. "But they will come." He, his other football-playing son, and Anton may all be targets. "But so what? There's going to be some shouting. But I've told Anton, just to forget it."

There hasn't been any trouble so far. Crowds are small, as the teams are still playing only warm-up games, at the end of the long winter break. But as we crunch over the ice and gravel towards the training pitch, Anton says that he's just received his first hate mail.

"I just got a mail from someone who lives around here, who said 'I'm never going to come to your games again, because you've got a faggot in your team'. So what am I supposed to do? I'm supposed to cry in a corner for you?"

On one thing Anton, his father Glenn, his team-mate Niklas, and - for what it's worth - I, agree. It's ridiculous that this is a story at all. As with Steven Davies, English cricket's freshly out gay wicketkeeper, why should we care about a sports star's sexuality - why should it remotely be our business?

The answer may lie, in part, in football's commanding heights. Only three months ago, Fifa boss Sepp Blatter couldn't resist sniggering, in public, about how gay people might have to comport themselves in conservative Qatar, come the 2022 World Cup.

Perhaps there's a neat symmetry here. At 20, Anton Hysen looks and sounds the part of a modern footballer. And 75-year-old Sepp Blatter sounded then as if he hadn't moved on from the world he inhabited at the age of 20.

Football may like to present itself now as a shiny bauble of high-tech boots, high-definition TV and billion-pound tournaments. But in some of its thinking, it remains mired in the days when food was rationed, toilets were outside, and homosexuality was illegal.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    It does seem remarkable that out of all the professional sports around the world, I'm sure the vast majority of people would only be able to count on one hand at most, the amount of open homosexual male sportsmen.

    Quite staggering when compared to the general population (however I have no statistics on hand).

    Was also quite perplex why this article has been up for an hour or so, but comments have only been allowed.

    On topic it does seem that there does appear to be a boundary that people aren't willing to go past till they can either profit from it through biographies, pushed out by the media or just never come out.

    Most people are open that not everyone who plays sport doesn't fit into the type of male and white, so don't see why more people come out. People will support you and the people who don't, well they don't deserve to witness you playing your sport.

  • Comment number 2.

    It gives me great hope that bit by bit things will and are getting better.. it all seems to be going in the right direction but that’s down to positive reports, brave sportsmen and stories by people like yourself! And for that I thank you!

    I play in a gay football team in Manchester called Village Manchester Football Club [VMFC]

    We have 2 teams – Our 1st team and 2nd team – Mixed ages, ethnicity and ability, brought together by the love of football.

    The 1st team actually play in a straight Sunday League – The Accountants League [we are the only gay team that plays in the straight league]. After a record 7 consecutive wins [in a tough league] our 1st team are now 2nd in the league with only 2 games left. We actually won the league 4 years or so ago. There is sometimes a bit of banter as you’d expect but the best way to silence your critics is to beat them in no other way than skill and finish which is what we have been doing.


    We took both our teams to the International Gay Games in Cologne last year and did very well in each group. We [VMFC 1st team] won the Gay World Cup in Argentina a few years ago too, which include many excellent teams from around the world. This year we are taking over 30 players to take part in the Euro Games, this July in Rotterdam who are playing host to teams and athletes from across Europe.

    Our 2nd team [which I am in] took 2 teams to Leeds this weekend [sun 20th Feb] to take part in the national gay football supporters network [GFSN] 5 a side Leeds tournament hosted by Yorkshire Terriers - involving 33 teams. We got both teams through two big competitive groups with Team 1 [the team I was in] getting through to the semis to be knocked out by a bit of bad luck. Such is football. Our team historically does very well in the GFSN competitions and will either win or get knocked out in the semis/final [normally due to penalty shoot outs!!]
    In terms of the masculinity of the players in the team, and football being a man’s game, you would never expect our team to be gay by looking at them and watching them on the ball – the total opposite to the commonly held stereotype of gay footballers. There are a lot of talented players, not afraid to get stuck in whom are exactly the same as the majority of Sunday league players up and down the country who enjoy a good drink, good party, socialising ‘with the lads’ and football football football. The banter in the changing rooms is just as harsh sometimes more as you’d get from our straight counterparts, coupled with the inherent gay wit which makes for much laughter and bonhomie.

    Our first team play every Sunday on our home pitch and we all [1st and 2nd team] train every Thursday.

    I take my hat off to players like Anton [and you for reporting this !] - paving the way for many others and challeging the sterotype. After all everybody is different and people only fear the unknown.

  • Comment number 3.

    The best part of this blog is to state that the matter of it isnt worth a story. What a waste of time.

  • Comment number 4.

    Why is it anybodys business what sexuality a footballer is? People just want a scandal. The media should stay out of it instead of stirring the pot. The abuse the players would get from supporters, quite possibly including a portion of their own, will prevent anybody openly coming out, especially in the over-exposed Premier League.

  • Comment number 5.

    You are dead right, this shouldn't even be a story. A celebrity's private life is nothing to do with anyone but him and his family and close friends.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Jack, some would argue that to bend it is better than to shoot straight. A nightmare for keepers. ;)

    Young men (especially successful ones) entering football are under a lot of pressure. The celebrity obsessed media are desperate to get the first photo of the new WAG on the arm.

    I wonder who the first HAB will be?

  • Comment number 8.

    It doesn't bother me one bit if a sports person is gay, it is anybody's right to be gay, bisexual or hetrosexual, what does it matter? I am completely fine with footballers being gay, we live in a democracy and it is our basic human right to have a freedom of speech liberty.

    Anton Hysen is a role model for the sport, a true professional, and i respect that.

  • Comment number 9.

    'It's ridiculous that this is a story at all' - yet you've written an entire article about a footballer's sexuality and made a story out of the fact that there's an openly gay footballer in Sweden.

  • Comment number 10.

    This is a non-story from the PC brigade.

    The Swedish Allsvenskan is their top league and my team came 3rd this year and will play in Europe in the 1st round of the Europa League, along with the runners-up from the likes of Andorra and Malta. So perhaps on par with our divsion 1. So this guy is from a team not even in the Superettan or Div 1 Södra, but Division 2 - a division that does not even get mentioned on the Swedish Football website. It is probably equivilent to Northern Premier League North/South Division 1 in England.

    If this happened in the UK, it would be a total non-story. The team would be ranked about 400 in the UK. Am I expected to believe that there is not one player in the 6000+ who would be ranked above him who has not admitted to being homosexual?

    The only reason this is a story is because his father was a famous footballer, otherwise it would never have been featured.

  • Comment number 11.

    If a rugby player can come out (Gareth Thomas, 2009, former Welsh captain) then surely a footballer can. Rugby's a much more manly sport. But I guess maybe that's the trouble, footballers have a natural insecurity because the world already sees them as pansies and primadonnas.

    Good for this lad. Gay and proud, and who is anyone to judge him? We're none of us exactly alike, and what a boring world this would be if we were.

  • Comment number 12.

    It should be a 'non-story' but somehow it is. The best female tennis player ever is a lesbian. Did her sexuality contribute to her astonishing success? I suspect it was more natural talent plus loads of hard work.
    Can a gay man be good at football? Of course. I played football throughout my school years and then for a few more at a semi-professional level. I neither know nor care if anyone I played either with, or against was gay.
    What about the coaches/managers or even officials? Same applies. Who cares?
    Tabloid hacks and a few bigots.

  • Comment number 13.

    There have been rumours circulating about footballers for years. There must be more than one professional in the premiership that is homosexual but is either too scared to come out or told not to by their manager/agent/publicist.

    It seems a shame that this is pushed underground following the issues faced by Justin Fashanu. However there will always be a small minority (every club has them, at my club its the idiots singing Hillsborough songs) that would come up with some sick chanting. It would take the FA to take this issue as seriously as racism to keep it to a minimum.

  • Comment number 14.

    All I can understand that there must have been introduced some sort of guideline to have a percentage of educational / society oriented number of articles appearing, weekly, on the football section. Some manager at the BBC is losing the plot.

  • Comment number 15.

    Can it really be true that not a single professional footballer was ready openly to support the FA's initiative on the matter? If that's the case, it's a sad indictment of the dressing room culture and seriously challenges The Secret Footballer's assertion that a player's sexuality would not be a matter of any greater concern than their haircut. And what of the more intlligent society-aware professionals in the game, the Beckhams and Rio Ferdinands. I find it hard to believe that they don't regularly socialise with openly gay individuals; why aren't they able/willing to denounce homophobia the way they've come out so strongly against racism?

  • Comment number 16.

    It's funny how every generation thinks of itself as so advanced since our only reference points are the past.

    This will be beyond ridiculous to anyone in 10, 20 years time let alone later.

    The article is well written and recognises the irony. Its the irony - a 20 year old footballer making news cos of who he fancies.

    Its just one of the needless reasons we will be so wonderously backward when stereotyped by future generations.

    Technology is forgiveable, attitudes are derisable.

    Just like we think of Victorians covering up table legs, their racism and contempt for the poor.

  • Comment number 17.

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  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    I am not gay. I find it difficult watching gay sexual scenes on television but I accept without equivocation people's private lives are precisely that - private. I lived with my wife in Sitges for a number of years and one simply gets used to living amongst gay people. If more people came out then such blogs as this would never appear because they are irrelevant. I am however, going to ask a question which is going to annoy a number of people but I have occasionally wondered about this when these subjects come to the fore. If I was in a dressing room full of naked women coming in and out of the showers, I'm not sure how I would react. Is this not the same for a gay footballer for instance? Is this the REAL reason not many footballers (or rugby players for that matter), do not come out - it can't just be the ribbing they would take - they must be used to receiving and giving this out every day on the training ground? Or am I being offensive in asking this question? If I am, it was not meant to offend so I apologise but nevertheless, I'm intrigued.

  • Comment number 22.

    I genuinely don't get the point of this article. Football and the Premier League included doesn't care what sexuality you are and has certainly never not allowed someone to play for being gay. Who is anyone to question whether or not someone comes out as being gay or not, perhaps they just don't want the public to know their sexuality, whether that be gay or straight. That's their choice and their right.

    For me, the most controversial aspect from this article stems from comment #2 who writes about how they play in a gay team in a gay league...that's more prejudice than anything else concerned with homosexuality in football and shows terrible double standards.

    I just don't understand the reason, point or aim of this article. It perhaps would be better spent writing how these days football (and sport in general) in most countries, is pretty much the only thing which includes everyone and in which all creeds, colours, and homosexualities participate as one. It's certainly one of the very few things which unites this country these days.

  • Comment number 23.

    jamews @ 17 - 20

    Firstly, not sure where exactly that 'most footballers are black'? SA perhaps? Jamaica? Burkina Faso? I'd grant you those..

    And as for religion, most footballers we see in this country certainly, black or white seem only interested in praying to the pound note.

    On your other illuminating views, you say you don't care what a person does then go off on a mad rant. Sounds like you do care a bit. Sounds also like the lady doth protest too much, methinks...

    It's none of our business, good luck to the lad, and I'd eat my hat if there aren't several dozen still in the closet in our own EPL. Least this fella is brave enough to be himself.

    So jamews, there really is no need to go batty, man...

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    I really don't think that Sexual preference or indeed racism are big issues or problems in Football. However, Xenophobia which is rife throughout the English game and Media is a huge problem.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

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  • Comment number 29.

    I agree that it's a non-story because there are hundreds, indeed thousands of openly gay footballers and one look at all the queens prancing around on the floor in Serie A every weekend proves it! ;)

    On a slightly more serious note, this guy's essentially an amateur non-league footballer in Sweden, this is about as much a story for its journalistic value as if the author's postman was openly gay.

    As for homosexuality being an issue, it will only stop being an issue when it ceases to be one for those higher profile gay sportsmen. If they just came out and dealt with it, it would no longer be an issue.

  • Comment number 30.

    As a couple of people have already said...Please stop throwing GAY in my face! If you are suggesting that gay players should come out then you should also say that straight players should admit that they like women. It is not my problem if they are gay. Why do I need to know exactly? I love watching football, I couldn't care less if they like to sleep with men or women.

  • Comment number 31.

    I think those questioning the need or relevance of the article only need to read some of the above responses to realise this is a battle that needs to be fought. Those that continue to spout this predujice must be made aware how they will be regarded by history-as asses.

  • Comment number 32.

    Breaking news - a Zamaretto League player has come out as a polygamist!!

    Really don't understand the point of this. Who cares if players are gay or not? Homophobia exists on the terraces - no way? Just like it exists in small pockets of all society!! Does that mean that the whole of football is homophobic???

    I'm pretty sure that there were only 2 people charged in the Sol Campbell incident. 2 out of 30,000! Is that an endemic problem in football?

    Footballers don't need to be gay to have minorities of fans to sing about them:

    Van Persie for alleged rape - acquitted
    Dave Jones for paedaphilia - acquitted
    Ian Wright for choosing to marry a larger than average women

    Some fans will find anything to pick. Is it right? No, of course not, but it will always remain.

    This is not even in the same league as racism! If a footballer comes out, is that going to encourage more footballers to come out or more homosexuals to play the sport. I doubt it!! As point two highlights, noone cares.

    How would an all black team have been treated in a Sunday league thirty years ago? I player can't hide the colour of their skin, but if a player chooses to hide their private life for whatever reason, who cares who, what or how many they are going to bed with!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    @ jamews.

    Your comments have been nothing but homophobic. It has no place here.

  • Comment number 34.

    #31 - well said.

    The fact that so many people are questioning the need for this article proves that there is a problem. Where are the people congratulating the lad for having the bottle to come out?

    Yes there's a small minority that shout abuse but there are a great number of fans who are uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality. That's the problem and has been proved here. Some of you need to realise homosexuality isn't a lifestyle choice and should not feel revolted by it.

    What is this, the Bible belt? For god's sake. Oh sorry, forgive my blasphemy.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    There is clearly a need for this article, witness the chants and venom heard about gay people, certainly at my own club's games and I guess at all matches in Britain.
    Phil Minshull's blog last May about FC St Pauli's punk & left wing leanings, showed that football could be different as they hoisted the Jolly Roger and their club president was openly gay.
    Some people may not wish to accept gay people's sexuality but they should respect their rights and freedoms which are enshrined in law.
    Well done to Tim for promoting those rights and freedoms and well done and good luck to Anton Hysen

  • Comment number 37.

    Surprised with the homophobic views expressed here by jamews and GreenEyed_BearHunter1888.

    GreenEyed_BearHunter1888 -> there is a a clear difference between being gay and being a rapists or paedophile. For you to compare them is quite frankly laughable.

    jamews -> considering you don't care for and don't care hear about homosexuals you are writing quite a few posts on an article about the subject.

  • Comment number 38.

    #31 marsman - I strongly disagree with your comment here. People are entitled to their opinion, whether you agree with it or not, or whether it is controversial or not. That is freedom of speech. This jamews fella is obviously a bit of an idiot but hey, I'm sure there are plenty of homosexual idiots around too and he's still entitled to his opinion.

    I am also curious as to exactly what battle needs to be fought? As I said in my previous comment, to my knowledge, nobody is being banned from playing football for being gay and I don't think ever has been, so what battle are you referring to? Or are you wanting to win a battle to suppress freedom of speech and for people to not have their own opinions, because if so, I certainly hope you don't win that one.

    I am neither an idiot or archaic and I have a number of gay friends and have an openly gay uncle, but I don't believe homosexuality is normal. Does that make me a bad person? No it doesn't. I am a believer of science and there is nothing in science which proves it is normal. However, would I treat someone differently for being gay? Certainly not, and that's what's important and to my knowledge, football does not treat homosexuals differently either.

  • Comment number 39.

    "I am a believer of science and there is nothing in science which proves it is normal"

    There's nothing in science that proves anything.

  • Comment number 40.

    Having close friends and family who are gay, and them being compared to a rapists and paedophiles by GreenEyed_BearHunter1888 disgusts me.

  • Comment number 41.

    #38 What exactly is normal?

  • Comment number 42.

    I'd be surprised to hear that someone had "produced several accademic papers on the study of homosexuality and how it has been shown that it can be ligitimately classified as a sexual/mental disorder" and that its claims were proven.
    For a kick-off, you can't even spell and your claims that you do not "advocate hatred or discrimination" is laughable, given the tone of your ridiculous diatribe

  • Comment number 43.

    @42 - don't want to be pickie here but you spell academic with one "c" not two!

  • Comment number 44.

    Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen were both openly gay WWI veterans and noted poets. Well, when I say openly gay, this went as far as legally possible in those days. There is also speculation about the third Great War poet, Robert Graves' sexuality. These men were as tough and courageous as they came, battling in the trenches, going through Craiglockheart after suffering shell shock and re-entering a world that had become numb from the terrors of war. That renders the theory of masculine footballers redundant. In any case, football has become so soft these days, it ought to be played by ballerinas (cf. Ronaldo, Nani, Fabregas).

    The law of averages states that there MUST be gay footballers, just like their are homosexuals in every other profession. Once again, not all gays are fashion designers, singers or Navy drill sergeants. Like the author states, the story shouldn't even be one. And Qatar should not host the World Cup, for obvious reasons too manifold to list. The World Cup should only really be hosted in countries in which it is truly appreciated.

  • Comment number 45.

    Frank_Lambrose-id ask you if your response was the same to the battle that was fought to expunge racism from football. I see no point of difference in this battle whatsoever. Your claim that the posters above have a right to freedom of speech would, again, out of consistency mean that outright racism should also be tolerated. As for your claim that there isnt an issue within Football or that football has "never treated homosexuals differently", well thats just laughable. Only last year a former boss of a huge club in Germany, about as advanced a european nation as you could get today, claimed there was "no place in Football for gays". How can you get plainer than that? Jeez.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1257513/Fury-German-football-boss-says-Theres-place-football-gays.html

  • Comment number 46.

    #10 Kelsallphil (and others)

    "Am I expected to believe that there is not one player in the 6000+ who would be ranked above him who has not admitted to being homosexual?"

    --------------------------

    Erm, yeah, that's kinda the point of the article.

  • Comment number 47.

    @Wolvespur. LOL, religious types (tight-lipped Anglican women, tight-fisted Scots Presbyters, tight-holed islamic fundamentalists) are part of the reason we can't say certain things the way we would naturally say them. That includes a natural way of dealing with sexuality. However, in order not to offend (I had to change that due to Aunty's 'profanity filter') Margaret from Canterbury, Sheilagh from Perth and Abu Mohammed from Riad I shall not digress any further.

  • Comment number 48.

    #38 that's a rather broad question and I'm not really sure what you're getting at. I'm not saying homosexuality is wrong and I don't care what anyone chooses to be, like I said, I have friends and relatives who are gay. I just said that I don't believe it to be normal and I don't want to be drawn into an insinuation of me being homophobic, because I certainly am not.

    The point I was making is that people are entitled to their opinion and people have no right to suppress people's opinions anymore than people have a right to treat someone differently because of their sexuality (which by the way, it seems these gay football teams/leagues do?). And also that in my 20 years of going to watch top tier football in England, I haven't seen or heard of prejudice based on sexuality. Yes there are the odd comments, but no more than remarks about someone being ginger, or their latest exploits in the papers, or - in the case of my favourite player Frank Lampard - for being fat!

  • Comment number 49.

    Frank_Lambrose- "but I don't believe homosexuality is normal. Does that make me a bad person? No it doesn't."

    no it doesnt, it makes you an idiot.

  • Comment number 50.

    Further to my point (32), racism not only existed in the past, but was often advocated by the majority of people going to football. A player was pre-judged before he even kicked a ball, even if the crowd knew very little about his private life or even him as a person. As a result of the good work of many black professionals, and the Kick racism out campaign, racism barely exists in not only football, but sport in general in this country.

    As I have prviously stated, I'm not homophobic and care very little about a players private life, but can someone please explain what revolutionary changes are going to be made in football stadiums if a player were to come out? What will it do for the good of game? Will it encourage more players to come out or will it encourage more homosexuals to be involved in the sport? Or are they already involved?

    I'm curious and would welcome a response?

  • Comment number 51.

    And also that in my 20 years of going to watch top tier football in England, I haven't seen or heard of prejudice based on sexuality. Yes there are the odd comments, but no more than remarks about someone being ginger, or their latest exploits in the papers, or - in the case of my favourite player Frank Lampard - for being fat!

    ----------------------
    Be CONSISTENT then, have the courage of your argument. I will ask again, is it therefore utterly acceptable for comments on someones race or skin colour to be delivered and heard?

  • Comment number 52.

    Marsman - please tell me how this makes me an idiot? Once again I will state...I don't believe it to be wrong.

    Please don't try and insinuate that I am being homophobic.

  • Comment number 53.

    marsman - you really are missing my point and there is no inconsistency to what I am saying. Football has previously not allowed people to play due to their colour and therefore have treated them differently, football has not done this to a homosexual.

    I haven't mentioned racism at all and I don't wish to as I don't want to get in that debate - particularly seeing as you are trying to imply I am homophobic and you will probably somehow try to label me a racist too!

    People are entitled to their opinion, that is literally all I was saying.

  • Comment number 54.

    @43, yes I realise that, I was quoting from 26 and saying he couldn't even spell but comment 26 has since been removed

  • Comment number 55.

    Also marsman, you seem keen on picking and choosing elements of my posts to misconstrue what I am saying, but are ignoring everything else I am saying.

    I don't intend this to be in an argumentative context, but a discursive one and for example, I would be interested to know your thoughts on gay football teams and leagues?

  • Comment number 56.

    Frank, saying that you 'don't believe homosexuality to be normal' doesn't make you homophobic, it just makes you extraordinarily ignorant.

  • Comment number 57.

    24. At 5:35pm on 21 Mar 2011, you wrote:
    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.
    56. At 7:03pm on 21 Mar 2011, packersftw wrote:
    Frank, saying that you 'don't believe homosexuality to be normal' doesn't make you homophobic, it just makes you extraordinarily ignorant.
    //////////////

    Ignorant? Really? Please explain. Big body of medical opinion supports Frank.

    My comment removed. Musn't offend gays.

  • Comment number 58.

    I agree with the views expressed, that this guy's sexuality really OUGHT to be a non-story, it OUGHT not to be an issue. But the fact remains that it IS very much a story, very much an issue.

    For anyone who genuinely feels it to be a non-story, just imagine the England team (say) leaving for the World Cup, with WAGS in tow. Now imagine one of the WAGS is in fact a HAB (the fact that the acronym doesn't exist should already be ringing a bell). It's true, isn't it? - it's pretty obvious that most well-known footballers are Openly Straight - i.e. publically accessorised with a Female Other. It's not a non-issue for them.

    But I still very much get the sense that for many football fans, if one of their heroes publically went out with a bloke, in exactly the same way that his straight counterparts do with their WAGs, there would be a big outbreak of "I couldn't care less that he's gay - but why is he so IN MY FACE about it?" Going out into the street with your partner is not IN anyone's face - it's just living your life. And the fact that it makes photo-news in the redtop press is a normal part of 21st century celebrity.

    I'm a big fan of football, internationally, and I can't think of a single player off the top of my head who is openly gay. Compare that with other branches of entertainment - for instance the world of music, or cinema, or the visual arts - and the discrepancy is quite stunning. Just what IS going on here, and why are there virtually zero openly gay male sportsmen?

    Not being gay myself, my ignorance on this score is perhaps more understandable - but I can at least see that there is something seriously awry here, that needs to be sorted. This story is heartening, and I admire the player's openness and self-confidence. But I feel we really need a couple of "name" players to come out as gay, maybe two or three at once, for the issue to be properly addressed.

  • Comment number 59.

    #39 - The point of science is not to prove anything: it is to determine, through observation and experimentation, the most likely explanation for observable phenomena based on all the data at hand. Many scientific theories are so well supported that they are effectively unassailable (e.g. Earth is (imperfectly) spherical, Earth orbits the Sun, life is evolving and has evolved for billions of years, the surface of the Earth is divided into plates which have moved and continue to do so through time).

    With respect to science and homosexuality: observation of many animal species (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_animals) has shown that homosexual behaviour is positively common in many species. It is rare for animals to be exclusively gay, since it is not a trait that could be passed on to future generations (male-to-male and female-to-female couplings don't produce children), though it is a behavioural component of many species.

    This does not prove that it is "normal" or "right", but it certainly suggests that it is a natural behaviour. Some would then ask, "if some animals commit acts of rape and necrophilia (http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2010/03/duck_sex_to_interfere_or_not.php; http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/07/duck_humps_dog.php), does that mean that these should be acceptable too?" Clearly not - these acts are non-consensual, whereas homosexual acts are.

    Bottom line is this: that this piece had to be written at all demonstrates how far society has to go.

  • Comment number 60.

    great blog, thanks

  • Comment number 61.

    I think what sums it up perfectly was a quote i read about Steven Davies. It's not a big deal, but it's clearly a very big deal indeed.

    That no single player would front the FA campaign
    That no pro player other than a chap playing the 4th tier of Swedish football has come out
    The fact that some people think "it's not in the same league as racism"

    There's 3 perfect reasons for having this story / debate.

  • Comment number 62.

    34. At 6:05pm on 21 Mar 2011, wolvespur wrote:
    #31 - well said.

    The fact that so many people are questioning the need for this article proves that there is a problem. Where are the people congratulating the lad for having the bottle to come out?

    Yes there's a small minority that shout abuse but there are a great number of fans who are uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality. That's the problem and has been proved here. Some of you need to realise homosexuality isn't a lifestyle choice and should not feel revolted by it.

    //////////////

    Not a lifestyle choice? Really? What is it then? No medical evidence to support that you are born that way.

  • Comment number 63.

    Ignorant because Frank is attempting to define 'normal'. I would say his attitude is abnormal - but as you guys are so keen to point out - that's just my opinion.

  • Comment number 64.

    Just for the benefit of those saying homosexuality is 'abnormal' or 'unnatural'; the truth is quite the opposite. Look at the world around you, and there's plenty of examples of homosexual acts in nature. Goats, penguins, rats, primates and many other species are documented as engaging in homosexual acts - in the case of giraffes, 90% of all intercourse is between two males!

    It would appear, in fact, that bisexuality is the norm - or, in terms that are less of a pigeon-hole (oo-er, obviously), simply not discriminating is the norm.

    Fair play to Hysen; that must be an awful weight off his shoulders, and best of luck to him with it.

  • Comment number 65.

    As a 21st Century man, I'm quite indifferent to the sexuality of mates, work colleagues and people who I watch in second rate TV dramas. As such, I've always found it strange that so many celebrities hide their sexuality until they're either on the way down or (if they can't afford a good publicist) outed. You must remember that many pop stars, actors and politicians for example have concealed their sexuality, in the mistaken belief that the general public cares what goes on in their private lives. Generally, the only people who really care are those dedicated to Heat, Hello et al - who are generally huge fans of gay celebrity culture!

    As there's this perceived homophobia in sport, it's a barrier which needs breaking down - although mostly for older generations. For the rugby zealot, remember that Edwards only came out when approaching retirement - your 'sissies' comment surely says everything we need to know about whether rugby has a problem. As for those who talk about people 'rubbing their nose in it' - I get sick of people who praise the lord when celebrating sporting success but whatever floats their boat.

    It would be nice if the high profile gay sportsmen and women felt able to come out and the whole world collectively said "Fair enough, now pass the bl00dy ball!". I think that for the majority of people it wouldn't really matter, there would be homophobic jibes for a short period but this is akin to rascism, which rarely rears it's ugly head in sport any more.

    Maybe people are looking at this all wrong? There's a massive market for someone young, gifted and gay in sport. Were I gay and a professional footballer I'd do it now for the kudos, the sponsorship and the knighthood. First one out's the winner.

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    Im totally lost by the term "normal" that always gets brought up around this issue. Who cares whether someone thinks something is "normal", what a propostrous phrase. I dont think Lionel Messis ability is "normal" and i bet he and his bank balance are thankful it isnt.

  • Comment number 68.

    @66 - absitomen...

    So as a 22 year old homosexual male, I am not 'normal' then? I'll have you know I hold down a perfectly 'normal' job with the biggest networking company in the world - they don't see me as not 'normal' ???? - and I lead a PERFECTLY normal life.

    From my username, you may see that I am a fan of Nottingham Forest. I have a season ticket and many people know of my 'abnormality' as you put it, they don't have a problem, so why do so many people? I am perfectly happy with the fact I am gay. And yes... I fancy about half the players that I see play for Forest every week. Does that make me not 'normal' as well? I await your reply...

  • Comment number 69.

    Absolutely shocked and pretty disgusted that no footballer would come out in support of the anti-homophobia video. That tells you all you need to know right there. I mean considering the vast majority of them are indulged beyond most people's wildest dreams for kicking a ball about better than average you would think ONE just ONE of them would be happy to come out and stand up for something moral that really counts in life. It's not like they were even being asked to come out - they were being ask to support a campaign against bullying and intimidation the acts of cowards. What a backward planet we live on.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    Well, good for him. It is his choice of lifestyle, and his choice. How or why does / should his sexuality or preference for any particular partner have any effect on his level of skill, be it Swedih 4th division level or English Prem level?

    What I always fail to understand is this ... if it really is "no big deal" then why are there "gay" games/forums/associations etc. In fact, the same goes for all the "black" games/associations/forums.

    Does this not just "cheapen" it and say that there is something "different" about gays/blacks/whatever?

    If the modern world really is so politically correct, all-encompassing and "open" then there would surely be no need for these "special" associations/leagues/games/forums etc, and certainly no "value" in articles such as this.

  • Comment number 72.

    Really good blog here, I think some of the views you've raised, particularly your closing line, are really worthwhile.

  • Comment number 73.

    Just to throw something a little left-field, but related, into the mix...

    How many heterosexual sportspeople would be welcome participants at the Gay Games, I wonder?

  • Comment number 74.

    62. At 7:41pm on 21 Mar 2011, Revelation wrote:
    34. At 6:05pm on 21 Mar 2011, wolvespur wrote:
    #31 - well said.

    The fact that so many people are questioning the need for this article proves that there is a problem. Where are the people congratulating the lad for having the bottle to come out?

    Yes there's a small minority that shout abuse but there are a great number of fans who are uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality. That's the problem and has been proved here. Some of you need to realise homosexuality isn't a lifestyle choice and should not feel revolted by it.

    //////////////

    Not a lifestyle choice? Really? What is it then? No medical evidence to support that you are born that way.


    -------------------

    Ok, so where's the medical advice to prove that it has nothing to do with the way you are born?! One shred of evidence will do me fine!

    Is there also medical evidence to support the fact that some people are attracted to black people? or to fat people (the so-called feeders?). Is there medical evidence for Paedophiles?! NO!!!! NONE!!!!

    Before posting such ignorant comments, PLEASE educate yourself properly

  • Comment number 75.

    Where did the word gay come from as it legitimises homosexuality.

    Now the vast majority of the world population think homosexual acts are abhorant, if you write it as I have done the listing will soon get remove by the gay police who moderate these pages.

    And on the person who wrote about Dave Jones the courts proved the kid was lying to get at Jones.

  • Comment number 76.

    Gareth Thomas.
    How does he get anyone gay or a woman.
    If Thomas was married and is now a homosexual then really is he is bisexual who has sex with both sexes.

  • Comment number 77.

    jamews

    'Where did the word gay come from as it legitimises homosexuality'

    It doesn't legitimise jack. As it doesn't need to be. It is legal in all developed countries. And it's also none of your business in terms of who lives their life that way. No one has to prove or legitimise anything to you... thankfully.




  • Comment number 78.

    @MuchPreferWinter - I don't disagree with you entirely but it would take an extremely brave footballer to come out and admit being gay. I think using their fortune as a reason behind why they should do it is not fair. Yes, the have money beyond most people's dreams but by being pioneering the gay footballer movement they would, undoubtedly, be subjecting themselves to sickening taunts. Yes, this is extremely wrong, and in 20 years time it will most likely not be an issue, but for someone to be willing to go through that would be putting themselves through some very unpleasant experiences - which maybe they simply don't want to go through (great comment from whoever mentioned the knighthood).

    As I said during the whole Keys/Gray sexism debate, it's very difficult to compare, although there are similarities, the racism issue with that of the gay/sexist argument. The fact is, rightly or wrongly, society still allows topics like these to be a strong point of debate, whereas there is no longer a debate on the racism issue, it's no longer tolerated in this country. Plus, if a gay player doesn't want to endure taunts directed at him, he can hide his sexuality - a black player could not do so and therefore was forced to take the abuse that was previously aimed at him.

  • Comment number 79.

    I will start the post by saying I am not a homosexual or a homophobe.

    However, I do feel for those footballers who feel they cannot come out and openly admit that they are gay. If the man does not want to come out and say it due to his own preferences, then there is no problem in that. The problem occurs when a footballer feels he simply cannot admit (I dont think that word 'admit' does it justice) that he is gay as it would place his profession, integrity and health.

    I will admit, as has been mentioned, I too find it uncomfortable to find men kissing on TV. Whether that feeling be normal or not, I don't know. It is worth pointing out that I have no problem with gay people at all. By all means, people have a right to express their views, but when they do this, other's feelings should be taken into account (such as earlier in this thread). Perhaps it is worth holding some of it back, as it isn't very beneficial. My profession is in the engineering sector, still a macho-male role, which on occasions leads to gay jokes. I still find this extremely out-dated with the world we live in today.

    That said, I do agree with one of Lamberose's points: why should there be a specific league/event set up primarily for gays to participate in, specifically ruling out the involvement of heterosexuals? This surely cannot be right for as long as no gays are allowed in the world of football.

    I do understand and believe, however, that until gay footballers is widely accepted, it will be difficult for footballers to come out and others to accept it.

    As for Qatar getting the world cup - don't get me started.

  • Comment number 80.

    A further point, as my two previous questions were ignored. Basing the number of gay footballers per capita in same way as the number of gay men society would suggest that there are a number of gay in everyday life would suggest that there are a number of gay footballers. If we are assuming that, due to the perceived homophobic nature of football, these players are afraid to come out, then how many ex players have come out after they have retired from the game?

    What have they got to lose? Will their previous efforts be discredited? I'm curious because i have an uncle who was married and fathered four children. He came out about ten years ago because he finally felt that he would be accepted for who he was, after 25 years of marriage. Is his role as a fathes immediately discredited?

  • Comment number 81.

    I was just about to reply to post number 66 when I saw it had since been taken down. In a way it might have been better to leave it there and thereby cut off any whingeing about "PC agendas" and "stifling honest debate", which is usually many people's last recourse when their opinions are dissolved by rational argument.

    At any rate it's heartening to see that there's a whole band of people out there responding to these comments about what is supposedly "normal" and "medically" verifiable. The mindset of the people using these words is presumably of the logic that, since heterosexual sex creates babies, and creating babies is one of the biological imperatives that drives a species' existence, homosexual sense is not "normal". If they thought about that idea for a moment or two they would hopefully realise that, using that logic, masturbation isn't "normal", oral sex isn't "normal", using a condom isn't "normal", only inseminating one woman instead of as many as possible to propagate your line isn't "normal" ...

    And as for whether heterosexual sportsmen would be allowed to compete at some sort of "Gay Olympics", the answer is that every other "Olympics" is, by default, a straight Olympics. There's no need to protect "straight rights" because they aren't being impinged upon, there's no abuse to tackle, there's no need for straight sportsmen to have their own non-gay teams or events because, by default, every other team and event that isn't a gay team or event is a straight team or event.

  • Comment number 82.

    apologies, i'm writing on a phone. I think you get my point

  • Comment number 83.

    @Peter

    Understand your points but I was actually annoyed with them as all they were being asked to do was stand up and be counted by backing an anti- homophobic bullying campaign! This wasn't a case of the FA trying to get a footballer to come out. I mean is there not a single footballer in the entire country with the backbone to just go look bullying and intimidation are not on - I am willing to stand up and be counted on this front? It may take someone having to deal with some chanting even if they just stand up for this. But can it really be any worse than the stuff sang by football supporters all over the country every weekend? To be fair David James has been very vocal and had the brass tacs to make a stand. But the silence is deafening elsewhere. Apologies if I've left someone else out but I honestly can't think of anyone else I;ve heard or seen be as vocal as he has been.

  • Comment number 84.

    Good for him. With the recent trend of sportsman coming out of the closet, so to speak, I'm glad someone has had the stones to do it in football as well. Not bothered which league/division: irrelevant. After all, we're all discussing it now, aren't we? I'm not that way inclined myself, but a close friend of mine is, and, banter aside, it makes no difference whatsoever. As long as it isn't compulsory, what's the problem? The only real shock as to this revelation is the coverage it has gained and the impact that it appears to have made. Any minute a peasouper will fall, The Ripper will strike again and Queen Victoria will show off another little black number...

  • Comment number 85.

    Of course this is a valid story. Football is a lens into the values of society at-large, perhaps at times a camera-obscura, but none-the-less, you can track waves in the pattern of social identities on the terraces like street fashion down the ages. I am not gay, but my uncle is and so was always aware that his values existed. It wasn't until I was older, say about ten to twelve that I even knew there was such a thing as homophobia, I really didn't know what 'faggot' meant and used it quite a lot until my mother explained me what it meant. it was quite a shock to be ignorant!
    I grew up in Bermuda, a white kid amongst mostly afro-identified people. I say the word 'identified' since it really is up to the individual there to identify their social expression--many white kids acted totally 'black' (as in followed the lead of their black friends' taste in music and fashion, this was the 70's--many of my white peers had 'ROOTS' written on their school bag, such was the effect the film and book had on us islanders)
    Then at eight I moved to England and discovered that I was supposed to have a judgmental position towards black people, if listening to what was being yelled on the terraces was anything to go by. The monkey calls, abusive comments, I'd look at the grown men beside me and wonder at the magic of my youth, and how lucky I was to have escaped their conditioning. I was also now supposed to be suspicious of French Germans, etc etc
    But did I stand there and tell them to stop the monkey calls? First time I did it, I was eighteen, away at Highbury. I was told to go stand on the 'North Bank with all the Arsenal faggots' if I didn't like it! Was to be the last time I tried to influence my fellow whiteguys at a football match. Obviously I wasn't going to CHANGE THE WORLD by asking the yobbos next to me to shut it. But I did move to another part of the Clock End.
    And so we'd play away to Watford and they'd make the song 'he's bald, he's queer, etc.' about Elton John, and you know, I'm okay if we don't sing this anymore because we're all aware that some of our own family of players and fans are queer who take it up the---.
    And people here are asking what is NORMAL?
    I have one for you. Is monogamy NORMAL?
    And yet, if a player screws around on another player's wife, we all get upset! Even loses the captaincy. Yet I have never met one monogamous person who ever proved they were truly monogamous, or any scientific data to prove sexual monogamy is inherent to our species.
    And as for 'sexuality', one thing science has mentioned is that it is a 'continuum', meaning, nobody is 100% anything. You can be white and talk in a Jamaican accent if you want, it up to you to identify as a Rasta. And so far, no top league professional footballer has been willing to IDENTIFY as being more than 1% gay (except they are happy to kiss and hug each other in public on scoring a goal!)
    Comments are as revealing as the blog!

  • Comment number 86.

    Firstly to those stating the obvious: as many non- idiots have already pointed out, the whole point of highlighting this relatively obscure case is to illustrate how taboo this subject really is in proffessional football. Which I think it does successfully.

    Secondly, Jamews: "Now the vast majority of the world population think homosexual acts are abhorant"- I would request statistics but I know that's pointless. This normally comes from only one source, as it is the only thing that truly legitimises this view, which is religion. This I would accept as long as you consider the reason: all oral, anal, manual... ? (I won't get too creative here) sexual activity is prohibited. Any non- religious based view of this is absurd- no creator = no design = no handbook.

    Lastly, people seem to be jumping on one person for calling homosexuality "not normal". This is both statistically and (I would say) socially correct, in that it is a minority. I do not think it was meant to be emotive or marginilizing and those that are attacking the poster appear to be from a righteous and self- applauding standpoint. Less bandwagonry please!

  • Comment number 87.

    I'd like to apologise to all the people out there who are upset because they cannot abuse minorities any more and also for being a PC bore by claiming rights as a human being instead of staying in my ghetto. Keep reading your Daily Mail, it will indulge your pity party, it must be hell on earth being heterosexual and white.

  • Comment number 88.

    When it comes to coming out why do the media and people in general seem to feel to need to use the verb 'admit' as if there is some form of guilt attached to it - would not 'announce' or 'state' do?

  • Comment number 89.

    It is sad that homophobia persist so much in not just the football world, but the entire sports world. It is also sad when just being who you are makes you somewhat of a hero and a trailblazer but hey, that is CLEARLY the society we are living in. Good for him for just simply refusing to be closeted which often is the best advocacy there is for us. There are many out there that don't necessarily live closeted lifes but do make a concentrated effort to not have their sexuality known which to each their own but it is players like Anton that ultimately will make it better for the next generations.

    Oh and on a random and vain side note, I would LOVE to know where these "a collection of piercings" are because you don't quite see them in the picture do you...

  • Comment number 90.

    Too many people on here are just trying to get a reaction "Look at me. I'm being controversial. I'm wacky me. Zany" Too many people doth protest too much. In fact Jamesws is probably more camp than John Inman and Dale Winton in a tent.

    Why should anyone care if a player/athlete is gay/straight, black/white, Hispanic/Asian, blonde/ginger, ugly/pretty? As long as they do their job they can sleep with whoever they want. If Hysen scored the winning goal in the Cup Final he could sleep with Prince Philip, The Queen and her corgis for all I care.

  • Comment number 91.

    #62 Are you frightened by homosexuality? Disgusted by it? So upset that it makes you cry before you go to sleep?

    That seems to be the only logical explanation for you saying such a comment. What do you reckon happens, someone says "I know what, I feel like going gay today". As #74 states, there is also no medical evidence to support your argument either.

    For what it's worth I believe that certain aspects of someone's personality coupled with their early upbringing is the reason for sexual orientation. However I certainly don't discredit the theory that people are born that way and neither should you.

    I would say you are an idiot but I guess I have no medical evidence.




  • Comment number 92.

    I think #62 is in denial.

  • Comment number 93.

    as my previous comments have been ignored, here is what i can assume based on what i have read:

    either,

    1) there are no top flight footballers who are actually gay and there never have been

    2) football is so inherently homophobic that no top flight footballer will ever come out, including retired top flight footballers who have nothing to do with the game any more, despite homosexuality being openly accepted in today's society

  • Comment number 94.

    Um, to those comments about not feeling comfortable watching gay men kissing or gay sex scenes between men, have you stopped to wonder what it is like to be gay and surrounded by images of heterosexual kissing/sex scenes? And before the screaming starts, I am not for a moment suggesting that there is anything abnormal about heterosexuality....

  • Comment number 95.

    94.

    To add to your point!

    The absolute grand canyon sized irony in all of this is that footballers, hug, kiss, grab, jump on each other all the time! When goals are scored football looks like the LEAST homophobic sport on the planet. It's hilarious but also quite sad that people can be so segmented in their heads about things. A lot of people can watch endless violence without batting an eyelid but two humans being affectionate aaggghhh!

  • Comment number 96.

    In reply to those commenting that "why is this a story" and "who cares about his sex life" (which he isn't telling us about, actually)- stories like this are always important on the road to acceptance and normality. One day this wont be a story, but in the current climate it is noteworthy and therefore should be spoken about.
    Good luck to the lad.

  • Comment number 97.

    That said, I do agree with one of Lamberose's points: why should there be a specific league/event set up primarily for gays to participate in, specifically ruling out the involvement of heterosexuals?
    --------------------------------------------------------

    This sums it up nicely.

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/02/26/why-gay-only-venues-should-have-the-right-to-exist/

  • Comment number 98.

    #90 Brilliant.

    Only one thing I disagree with, I don't think any of the haters here are intelligent enough to look for a reaction. The sad thing is they really believe homosexuality is fundamentally wrong. They are the kind of people who watch Till Death Do Us Part and don't get the irony.

  • Comment number 99.

    Like most people I think, I don't believe this should even be a story.

    Unfortunately, for all the advances that have been made in society over the years with regards the acceptance of gay people, we are still not mature enough in general to accept that one of our heroes may prefer men to women.

    I have no doubt that there is a percentage of gay footballers in the Premiership. For whatever reason, they are afraid to let the general public know of their preference, and I believe that is a shame in this day and age.

    How many young boys are out there, right now, who are just about coming to terms with the fact that they like boys instead of girls, and yet are afraid to address the fact that they are gay because of a perception that this means there is something wrong with them?

    The more high profile people come out and talk openly about their own preferences, their own lives, the sooner society in general can get over this pathetic ignorance.

    Not too long ago it was considered that people with a different skin tone were inferior citizens. Then it was people with disabilities. These are both things that people have no control over, but that we can see as soon as we meet somebody. Lets face it, you generally know when the person you are about to shake hands with is black, or in a wheelchair!

    The black footballers in the late 70's and early 80's took ridiculous abuse so that those playing today don't have to. Stephen Hawking proved that just because you are severely disabled, that doesn't make you stupid.

    But where are the high profile gay people, apart from in the music industry?

    Nobody accuses Kylie Minogue of being a lesbian, but she has certainly been intelligent enough over the years to embrace her gay fans, and as a result make plenty of money from them!

    The world needs an openly gay top class footballer in order to bring this pathetic prejudice out in the open where it should be. Then, just like racism, it can be dealt with and we can all move onwards with our lives.

    Will an openly gay footballer make a difference to the game? No. But it may well make a difference to a young kid who is struggling to come to terms with something that they should not have to feel is a burden.

  • Comment number 100.

    To IanB2, who asked about the situation in the showers (i.e., "I couldn't stand in a shower full of naked women, so how will this lad shower with naked men?") I don't think your question is ridiculous and you've asked it honestly enough, but it has a simple answer: he already has been, for years. Any one of us who shares a changing room or shower with other men does so daily in the company of homosexuals-- in school, uni, the military, our gyms, etc. Gay men are used to this situation, and those who would react in an inappropriate manner would be outliers (and also not likely to be a professional athlete). I'd say the proportion of gay men who would do anything untoward in this situation is about the same as the percentage of straight men who would whip it out on a public bus when a hot bird sat in the next seat. Everyone is an adult, knows what's acceptable and what isn't, and is capable of comporting himself with decorum. And yes, while this lad isn't in a top league, he has illustrious family connections in football and (apparently) the attention of the media. This is enough to make his experience a story at a time when no professional will come out or even support/defend gays in professional leagues. I agree with all those who hope that this kind of news won't be a story in ten years; but it is now, with great reason quantified by the millions of kids (and adults) worldwide who still lack role models who show that it's OK to be gay.

 

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