The Blackpool forward Jake Daniels has become the UK's first professional male football player to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.
Daniels, 17, admitted to having hidden his sexual identity as a young man “because I wanted to be a professional footballer”. Now he says the “time is right to be myself, be free and be confident with it all”.
“Now is the right time to do it,” Daniels told Sky Sports. “I feel like I am ready to tell people my story. I want people to know the real me. I have been thinking for a long time about how I want to do it, when I want to do it. I know now is the time. I am ready to be myself, be free and be confident with it all.
“For a long time I’ve thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be, and now I am, a professional footballer. I asked myself if I should wait until I’ve retired to come out. No other player in the professional game here is out.
“However, I knew that would lead to a long time of lying and not being able to be myself or lead the life that I want to. Since I’ve come out to my family, my club and my team-mates, that period of overthinking everything and the stress it created has gone. It was impacting my mental heath. Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally.”
Last year, Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo became the then only male top-flight professional footballer in the world to come out as gay. The A-League Men midfielder said he knew there are other players “living in silence” and later revealed to the Guardian that he would be ‘scared’ to play at this year’s World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal. - Guardian