Angela Merkel tells gay German footballers to come out

With only two openly gay male footballers worldwide, the German leader tells soccer players they have 'nothing to fear'

Angela Merkel tells gay German footballers to come out
14 September 2012

German chancellor Angela Merkel is telling gay footballers they should have no fear of revealing their sexuality.

The chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union met officials at a forum in Berlin to discuss integration and diversity in sport yesterday (13 September).

She said: ‘I am of the opinion that anyone who sums up the strength and bravery – and we have a long tradition of this behind us in politics – should know that they live in a land where they have nothing to fear.

‘The fact there are still fears for some people for their own situation means we need to send out a clear message: you must not be afraid.’

Her comments come after a top German footballer has come out as gay but refused to go public.

Speaking anonymously to magazine Fluter, the Bundesliga player said: ‘I would no longer be safe if my sexuality was to be made public.

‘I don’t know whether I will be able to take the constant tension between the model heterosexual player and the possible discovery until the end of my career.’

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness said it is only a matter of time before a player comes out.

‘It will happen sooner or later,’ he said. ‘All clubs are advised to prepare for this topic, so they will have good answers.’

Hoeness said it will be crucial to ‘protect as much as necessary’ any footballer who admits his true sexuality.

In January, footballers were urged to come out by the head of the German Football Association, Theo Zwanziger.

He called on sportsmen to ‘have the courage’, saying attitudes within football have changed within recent years.

In an interview with Bunte magazine, national team captain Philipp Lahm advised against it, saying an openly gay footballer would be ‘exposed to abusive elements’.

He said: ‘For someone who does come out, it would be very difficult.’

There are only a couple openly gay footballers worldwide, American David Testo, who played for Montreal Impact until 2011, and Swedish Anton Hysén, who plays in the third division for Utisktens BK.

Justin Fashanu was the first, and only, English footballer to come out in 1990. In 1998, he committed suicide.



No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Denmark celebrates green light for gay weddings

Danish churches celebrate gay and lesbian couples being able to get married inside their buildings
No thumbnail available

UKIP politician changes Facebook name to hide gay slurs

John Sullivan changes Facebook name after mounting criticism of his anti-gay remarks. UK Independence Party accuses Conservatives of ‘smear campaign
No thumbnail available

Isaiah Washington got 'beatdown' when he was a dancer and mistaken for being gay

Actor plays father of a gay teen in new movie Blackbird
No thumbnail available

Johnny Weir refuses to disappoint in his costume for a Super Bowl pre-game show

The figure skater out shines his co-host, Tara Lipinski
No thumbnail available

Indiana state government still appealing recognition of dying lesbian’s marriage

Indiana’s Attorney General is continuing to appeal the legal recognition of a lesbian couple’s marriage that a judge ordered so a dying woman can have her wife recorded on her death certificate
No thumbnail available

Liz Kendall: We have a duty to push LGBTI equality worldwide

British Labour leadership hopeful Liz Kendall MP writes that she will take the LGBTI message global as she welcomes Irish same-sex marriage
No thumbnail available

Stonewall will now campaign on trans rights

UK's campaigning charity says it will now fight for the rights of all members of the LGBT community
No thumbnail available

US pundit says gay unions will twist marriage into ‘unholy pretzel’

Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and TV host, has also said 'every fear' over same-sex marriage has come true
No thumbnail available

Obama nominates first Asian lesbian for federal judgeship

Current president has nominated the most ethnically, sexually diverse judges than any other in US history