GT Life

Coming out plan for a gay footballer

Gay Life Coach Adam Clark's suggestions for any of those top-flight footballers who are thinking of coming out

If you decide to come out, (like Anton Hysen, pictured) make sure you’re doing it for yourself: you don’t have a duty to be open about your sexuality; it’s your private life.

Stage one

Come out to a trusted friend, someone you’re pretty sure will support you and want the best for you.  The first person you come out to should be the sort of person who would say, “I’m touched that you chose to tell me.”

Stage two

If you’re married or have a long-term girlfriend, make sure you tell her personally, long before the rest of the world.  The worst way for her to find out is second-hand.

Stage three

Speak to your family, and give them time to get used to the news.  Some in your family will likely not be surprised, but others may be.  Parents in particular may need time to get used to changed expectations, but the good news is that in this country, the vast majority of families continue to love, support and cherish their gay sons.

Stage four

If you feel secure enough to take the banter and flak, come out to your team-mates.  Your relationship on the field depends on the bonds you share.  Yes, there is bound to be some teasing, but you know that this is could also be a sign of their affection for you rather than anything more sinister, especially if you come out confidently with your head held up high.  Get their support.  This will give you enormous strength if you ever decide to go for stage five.

Stage five

Go public.  Choose a sympathetic journalist to share your story with.  Consider doing it in a local paper; this will give you more of a connection to your club’s fans.  Know that you will get a lot of support in the mainstream media; even The Sun now sometimes supports gay stars.  If you’ve got your family, friends and team behind you, this will give you the strength to face the taunts, cheers and jeers of fans.  Remember how much bigger than them you are.  Coming out as gay in the world of football makes you such a man.  Know this, and be proud.

To read more about how Adam Clark and Tony Dines help boost the self-esteem of gay men, see the Gay Life Coach website.

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