Football star Jahmal Howlett-Mundle has opened up about his life after coming out in a new interview.
Speaking with The Athletic, the Sheppey United player discussed the impact that his journey has had on the LGBTQ+ community.
“The encouragement I received from teammates and staff got me a lot of attention I didn’t expect,” he said.
“I didn’t realise the impact it could have. It’s overwhelming, but the amount of beautiful messages I’ve had and the conversation since, I’m really glad I did it.
“I convinced myself it would be easier to expect a negative reaction rather than a positive one – if I expect something negative then at least what I thought it would be.”
The 24-year-old went on to say that even though he was scared to come out he’s in the “best place” he’s ever been.
“I didn’t expect to be in the position I am now, which is incredible,” he exclaimed.
Alongside the massive amounts of support from fans and his peers, Howlett-Mundle has also been subjected to criticism.
“Abuse will come. Unfortunately, That’s part and parcel of the game. I’m at a stage where I won’t react and it won’t get under my skin if this happens,” he said.
The footballer’s comments come nearly two months after his coming out video went viral on social media.
In a statement, the player said he’s usually “not the type of person” to announce details about his private life, but it felt like “the right time to be honest” with his loved ones in the hopes of inspiring others to follow in his footsteps.
“Football still has room for improvement in terms of players coming out and being themselves, but with the likes of Thomas Hitzlsperger and Thomas Beattie having done so, it’s slowly starting to evolve,” he explained further.
“We have seen other sports people like Gareth Thomas (Rugby) and Tom Daley (Diving) come out years ago and they are great role models for people like me.”
Howlett-Mundle said that he’s ready to be a “better version” of himself now that’s publicly out as bisexual, adding: “Whatever anyone’s sexuality, you should not be treated any differently – I’m just as hungry as any other player to step onto the football pitch and give my all to win for our team and our supporters.
“I always wished I had somebody that looked like me, that grew up where I grew up and played football to look up to when I was younger.”
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