Luke Shaw. He isn't.
It shouldn't matter, but it does. It shouldn't matter that a professional footballer, or rugby player, or diver, or athlete is gay. But it does because the stigma still exists in most of the world, if not in London, San Francisco or Amsterdam, then, for sure in Nairobi, St Petersburg, Aceh Province, Islamabad and Quatar, by which we mean much of the world, far too much of the world.
So when the Daily Mirror revealed that two Premier League footballers including an England international were about to come out as gay, it's something we need to report, even more so when, one week on, non further news has emerged. The only event of note was Luke Shaw, Manchester United and England star, feeling the need to decalere:'It's not me!'
Tom Bosworth. He is.
And when Olympic hopeful Tom Bosworth comes out as the first British gay atlete, or Sam Stanley, the 23-year-old English Rugby Sevens international or Keegan Hirst, Batley Bulldogs captain and the first British openly homosexual rugby league player come out as gay, they too merit public attention.
Keegan Hirst. He is.
As Sam Stanley commented at the time of his declaration, “It is going to be an issue until more people and athletes come out, until it is not an issue at all. It might take years but hopefully lots of people will find the courage.”
Sam Stanley. He is.
The footballers have apparently told family and friends and are being supported by the Football Association in their decision. The step would make them the first footballers to come out while still playing in the top flight of English football. The men believe the time is right now as there are “more and more” openly gay sports stars such as Olympic diver Tom Daley. They said: “The stigma has completely gone, and the public are far more accepting.
Robbie Rogers. He is.
We look forward to the news, admire their courage but suspect that they will find that the stigma still lingers. In 2013, former Leeds United player Robbie Rogers came out shortly before he joined the Californian side LA Galaxy. There was no great wave that followed his announcement. He expressed surprise that his declaration did not lead to more of a "chain reaction" with more people coming out of the closet and said it "just reminds [him] how big a problem it is in sports culture with homophobia".
Anton Hysen. He is.
Lustralboy says: We wait in hope. For years, we have expressed the hope that more sportsmen might come out, simply because their sporting status makes them potent role models for youngsters grappling with the gay stigma. Thank the stars for the likes of Gareth Edwards, Tom Daley, Robbie Rogers, Thomas Hitzelburger, Tom Bosworth, Sam Stanley and Keegan Hirst. Many thousands of young gay men all around the world, inspired by their sporting exploits, will surely share our appreciation. Meanwhile we will carry on sharing the news that helps roll back the borders of intolerance and repression.
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