A footballer for Sheppey United gathered his team on Tuesday (27 July) and came out as bisexual.
In a video posted to social media, Jahmal Howlett-Mundle – one of the team’s defenders – can be seen opening up to his teammates about his sexuality for the first time.
Jahmal acknowledged the amount that still surrounds homosexuality within the predominantly heteronormative sport, before telling them: “I’m still the same person.” His announcement was met with a round of applause.
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 loves 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.”
Jahmal 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.”
Marcel Nimani, Sheppey United Assistant Manager, had nothing but praise for Jahmal, calling him a “great footballer and leader for us on the pitch and an inspirational influencer off the field.”
“In the 21st century, sexual orientation of a person is a normal existence in our society, but unfortunately in football it’s not quite the case,” he said.
“Bravery acts like Jahmal’s play a massive part in normalising members of the LGBTQIA+ community within football. I believe these acts go a long way in supporting many struggling sports people.
“I thank Jahmal for the trust that he has put into our club and we as a club are fully supportive of Jahmal in what is an emotional time for him.”
Jahmal also expressed his gratitude to everyone at Sheppey United. He said he’s “overwhelmed” by the amount of support and is looking forward to “a great season with them as we look to start out promotion push at the weekend.”
You can watch the heartfelt video here or below.
— Sheppey United FC (@SheppeyUFC) July 27, 2021