German Soccer Star Thomas Hitzlsperger Comes Out As Gay
Hitzlsperger retired from soccer in September, but his coming out has received a lot of attention do to his high profile on the international stage.
The New Civil Rights Movement provides an excerpt of Hitzlsperger's coming out interview:
“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.”
Regarding why he chose to wait until after his retirement to come out, Hitzlsperger explains:
The midfielder confessed that he talked to people about coming out before the end of his career, other people that it would affect, and sadly they encouraged him to stay quiet because it would only bring problems.
He also spoke to Joachim Löw and Oliver Bierhoff before coming out publicly - they took it positively but I didn't expect anything else from them.
"Modern football has no place for people from the Dark Ages or people with old-fashioned prejudices and I hope this will give courage to young people about to get into professional sport."
You can read more from Hitzlsperger's interview here.
Welcome to the team, Thomas! Let's hope his coming out encourages other players to follow suit.