Openly gay footballer Zander Murray shared a heartwarming message from a fan he inspired to come out.
Back in September, the Gala Fairydean Rover striker made history as the first Scottish senior football player to come out as gay.
“First, it feels like the weight of the world is now off my shoulders…It can be difficult, and you can feel very alone,” he said via the club’s website.
“I knew I was different for many years, but with other people in the game coming out, it’s been amazing.
“Hopefully, the SFA can work with other leagues and partners and look at support and drive how we help other players.”
On 27 September, the young talent took to Twitter and shared a heartfelt message he received from a fan who was inspired by his groundbreaking announcement.
“Hi Zander, hope you’re doing okay. I just wanted to tell you that you’ve been a massive inspiration for me to come out to teammates and family,” the person wrote.
“As a young footballer, I find it difficult to be myself as it is but being gay and keeping it secret was so challenging. It felt amazing when I told my teammates, they were super supportive.”
In his caption on Twitter, Murray wrote: “Makes it all worthwhile young man.”
Makes it all worthwhile young man ❤️ pic.twitter.com/4d2pVK2VU6
— Zander Murray (@ZanderMurray) September 27, 2022
Since coming out as gay, Murray has remained an open book regarding his journey and the difficulties he faced along the way.
In a recent interview with Lorraine Kelly, the young talent said that “a weight was lifted of [his] shoulders” since opening up about his identity.
“I’m riding the wave. It’s absolutely incredible… I’m just feeling myself for the first time in my life,” he explained.
Towards the end of his interview, Murray revealed that Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley reached out to him with a message of support.
“Like yourself Lorraine, he is an absolute icon. He messaged me when I was on the way back from football training in a car with four boys, and I had tears in my eyes seeing his direct message,” he said.
“I messaged him back and went, ‘Look, I’m in the car on the way back from football with four boys, and I’ve got tears in my eyes, and I don’t even care – I’ve fully accepted myself.’ He’s been amazing.”
Over the last year, LGBTQ+ representation within the football industry has steadily increased.
Back in May, Jake Daniels made LGBTQ+ history as Britain’s first active openly gay male professional footballer since Justin Fashanu in 1990.
The following month, Scottish referees Craig Napier and Lloyd Wilson also came out as gay in an effort to create more LGBTQ+ visibility.
Lastly, Josh Cavalo became the world’s first top-flight professional footballer to come out as gay back in October 2021.