A Twitter account allegedly belonging to a gay English soccer player has announced he will come out ‘as soon as possible.’
‘The Gay Footballer’ account said in a statement on the social networking website that he plans to come out publicly as gay ‘as soon as possible’ and this will be ‘prior to the start of the new season.’
The new season is set to kick-off in August.
Earlier this month, the user tallied more than 22,000 followers within days of tweeting his intention to come out.
If and when the player does, he will become the first player to be openly queer since Justinus Fashnu more than 29 years ago.
An update following my meeting with the club on Sunday. Thank you to all of you that have shown your support so far ❤ pic.twitter.com/yRZrgXG5e6
— The Gay Footballer (@FootballerGay) July 15, 2019
After preliminary discussions with his club, he said in a statement he had a second meeting on Sunday.
‘The club have instinctively viewed the issue in human terms, their support focused on that and foremost.’
Furthermore, the soccer player went onto praise his family and the ‘love and support’ they have provided for him in the past few days.
‘I appreciate that my ways are orthodox,’ he said, ‘but I have to do this my way, and in my own time.
‘My intention remains to go public as soon as possible, and whilst no exact date has been finalized, I am looking at going public prior to the start of the new season.’
‘I hope this can be the catalyst for change’
The user went onto speak about what he hopes his coming out get going. Mainly, the potential for more soccer players — from premiership to high school — to come out.
‘I am thinking of those involved in professional football who are similarly positioned. My hope is that they can take comfort and hope from such disclosure and can feel suitably empowered to, if desirable, reach the same decision.
‘I have heard from numerous people who have stated that their sexuality stopped them from being involved in football. That they didn’t believe the two could co-exist.
He added: ‘I don’t want anybody in the future to feel that way, and with the work being done throughout the sport. I hope this can be the catalyst for change.’
‘It’s a bold move’
While the upper leagues of soccer in the UK continue to be strained by anti-LGBTI views, some queer players are finding relief in local leagues.
A spokesperson for Altrincham FC, a semi-professional club based in Altrincham, northwest England, welcomed the news. The team tackled homophobia in sport by donning Pride-flag patterned kits earlier this year.
‘Good for him,’ they told Gay Star News, ‘it’s a bold move if he goes ahead with it.
‘I hope the fuss it will inevitably create will die down quickly, so he can get on with his career.’
Who was the first English male soccer player to come out as gay?
Some people remember Justin Fashanu as the tall, young center-forward who once won the BBC’s goal of the season award.
To others, he is a symbol of the complicated and, at times, toxic relationship between the LGBTI community and sport.
The soccer star coming out via a tabloid in 1990 polarized the public and sports pundits. Some welcomed him, but others lampooned him.
However, after sexual assault allegations, Fashanu took his own life.
Conversely several high profile England women’s players have come out as lesbian
Such as Lily Parr, Casey Stoney, Kelly Smith and Fara Williams. Overall, attitudes around the women’s game are more tolerant than the men’s.