August 29, 2014
advice articles

Thomas Hitzlsperger Comes Out

I’ve never been one to follow any professional sport, even if it’s soccer, but I thought this video deserved a little attention. It sheds some light on what it’s like to be gay in a professional sport and, while I think it is difficult for professional sportsmen in America to come out, I imagine coming out as gay in English football is incredibly more daunting, especially with such a huge, dedicated, crazed fan base.

Listen to Hitzlsperger’s story and tell us what you think in the comments below.

About Will

Will is a recent graduate from Florida State University and transplant to Los Angeles who makes the occasional video on YouTube documenting his life with his fiancé and German Shepherd.
  • Mikayla Addis

    Ugh, I absolutely hate how being gay is related to being weak or fragile. I’m glad how he mentioned how he “proved them wrong” since he’s one of the stronger players on the team! Hopefully this will open more eyes to abolishing stereotypes.

  • Tedd92

    I agree with everything he says. It doesn’t make sense that the stereotype still is this strong in 2014.

    I believe he’s the pebble that starts an earth-slide in the sportsworld where the end result is that it’s no longer interesting whether a player is gay straight or whatever he/she identifies with, and it’s not uncommon that two players are married. Two of the women on the Norwegian Women’s Handball-team are currently married (as far as I know) and on maternal leave, and a third player (if I’m not wrong, I don’t follow the sport) is lesbian.

  • Ronja Svensson

    He’s so brave. It’s a touchy subject for sport fans/sportsmen to talk about .

  • Pascal Rudolph

    Well..as me living in Germany, I’m a little bit annoyed by all the “positive” comments and commentary and news and twitter and more news and “woah, he is such a brave guy” and “finally, a soccer player is out of the closet”. This guy isn’t even actively playing anymore…It’s just such a miserable sign for our / today’s society that news like that have to create a huge “hype”, and, sadly, a professional sporty coming out of the closet, just can’t be considered “normal”.

  • Flick

    My comment on this is that I play on the local ladies football team and no one batted an eyelid when the, female, coach married our striker in September. Our other striker only left the team because she moved in with her girlfriend a few hours drive away. Last season a couple broke up so for a while we had each of them playing alternate games. That’s 5 out of a team of 17. Maybe I’m just in a liberal part of England.

  • FunkyGlamQueen

    I like this guy. I watched the interview in german and I think he has a good way to explain these things and a good view about this :)

  • Tom Buckle

    The only footballer from the UK to ever come out while still actively playing was Justin Fashanu. Football players are paid too much, and the fans aren’t particularly accepting as a whole… there’s a phrase that goes “Football is a game payed by gentlemen and watched by hooligans, whilst rugby is a game played by hooligans and watched by gentlemen.” Every other sport I can think of has active out players other than football – Gareth Thomas, Nicola Adams, John Ameachi [who is well worth a follow on twitter] and Steven Davies to name a few off the top of my head. But I dont think british football will change any time soon.

  • Anne Eggers

    I do think that it’s good when people out themselves who are popular (even if it is a little late, but everyone in their own terms) because i hope, if more and more do it, it gets more normal. The thing that I wanted to mention is the fact, that in a german interview

    Hitzlsperger told the media he wanted to out himself for quiet a long time, but his managers told him, that it wouldn’t be the best idea for his career. I just wish for other gay players (and i am very sure there are a lot) that at some point a person who comes out of the
    closet does’t have to choose between an official happy personal life and the career.

  • Daniel Park

    Interesting that Thomas mentions that people expect footballers to be tough and tackle and that gay people are perceived as soft. Research I carried out for Sport England in 2006 showed that some gay men’s sports clubs were excluding people who “acted” in an effeminately or openly gay manner as they believed it would re-enforce this stereotype and they wanted to act “super-aggressive” to counter it. However, by doing this, they cut out a large proportion of gay people who wanted to play sport.

  • Lucas Faulkner

    I respect him a lot because, being English, I can confirm that football fans here a mental. For some reason it’s a bit part of our culture but we’re not even any good at it. :p

  • Beth J

    I think this SHOULD be a big deal precisely because there are no out gay footballers. He’s very brave but, like many here, I wish he was still playing as it would have meant so much more. Football is one of the last sports where homophobic and racist (at least, in much of Catholic Europe) chants from fans are still a way of life. I doubt we’ll hear half as much criticism of Qatar’s human rights record and stance on homosexuality when they host the World Cup. In contrast, Russia is (quite rightly) being berated by most of the international community for the same reasons. Why? Because the Olympics has a far more educated and diverse following. Football remains a sport loved, in the majority, by working men of Britain; most of whom have never met a gay person in their life.

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