German Soccer Star Comes Out as Gay
January 8, 2014 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media
On Wednesday, German soccer star Thomas Hitzlsperger came out as gay, making him only the fourth male professional soccer player to do so, according to BBC.
"I'm coming out about my homosexuality because I want to move the discussion about homosexuality among professional sportspeople forwards,” said the 31-year-old in an interview with Die Zeit magazine.
Though Hitzlsperger told the magazine that he’s “never been ashamed of the way I am,” he waited until “the timing was good.”
Coming out is an unique and deeply personal journey for each individual. For professional athletes, it can be an even more arduous process. Homophobia and transphobia has long permeated the culture of professional sports, creating a vitriolic environment in which it is difficult for any player to live openly.
Hitzlsperger’s brave decision sends a powerful message to LGBT youth that success in life is defined by one’s character and dedication, and not one’s sexual orientation.
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