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German World Cup Player Becomes Biggest Soccer Star To Come Out As Gay

by David Badash on January 8, 2014

in News,Sports

Post image for German World Cup Player Becomes Biggest Soccer Star To Come Out As Gay

Although Americans can be found glued to TVs when the U.S. is playing in the World Cup, soccer never became as big in the U.S. as it has in the rest of the world. So the name Thomas Hitzlsperger might or might not mean much to most Americans, but around the world he was a soccer — “football” — superstar, until his retirement in September.

Today, Hitzlsperger became the biggest footballer to announce he is gay.

“I am talking about being gay because I want to move forward the discussion about homosexuality among professional sports stars,” he told German newspaper Die Zeit, adding that coming to accept he is gay was “a long and difficult process,” but that he has “never been ashamed” of it.

“It is only in the last few years I have realized I would rather live with a man.”

“I was never ashamed of being who I am but it was not always easy to sit at a table with 20 young men and listen to jokes about gays. You let them get on with it as long as the jokes are somewhat funny and not too insulting.”

He also said that an openly gay footballer, for “the vast majority” of fans, “probably wouldn’t be a problem.”

Of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia, Hitzlsperger says, “I think multiple voices are required against the campaigns mounted by several governments against homosexuals.”

In February of last year American pro soccer star Robbie Rogers came out. He now plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Reaction to Hitzlsperger’s news has been swift.

Swedish footballer Anton Hysen, who came out in 2011, offered support on Twitter:

Former teammate Lukas Podolski also offered support:

And this from the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg:

Hitzlsperger is of course, rather pleased:

Image by calciostreaming via Flickr

Hat tip: Daily Mirror

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LOrion January 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Good story David, of course we in US do not know how famous he is elsewhere.

LOrion January 8, 2014 at 3:10 pm

…and then: from Gay Star News: Footballer’s anti-gay rant in France: ‘Adam and Eve, not Adam and Yves’

On the same day Thomas Hitzlspreger comes out as gay, a documentary will be screened in France showing how far football still has to come in accepting gay people

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