Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek took to Twitter to explain the rumours that he is open to becoming the Premier League’s first openly gay player.
The England international player felt pressured to come out publicly to address the speculation about his sexuality in a tweet posted last night.
Loftus-Cheek, aged 22, said any fellow professional who came out as gay would have his full support but indicated that a rumour he was about to do so was wide of the mark.
Any player who came out as gay, they’d have my full support and respect 👊🏾. But the rumour isn’t true 😅
— Ruben Loftus-Cheek (@rubey_lcheek) January 16, 2019
He said: “Any player who came out as gay, they’d have my full support and respect 👊🏾. But the rumour isn’t true.”
The question is, why all the rumoured gay players have to take to social media to explain their sexuality and come out as straight?
The importance of the support by the players is fundamental to change the stereotype attached to toxic masculinity surrounding the sport. We all remember the campaign that was created by UK LGBT+ rights group Stonewall to kick homophobia out of the sport last year.
With the aim to ‘make sports everyone’s game’, both athletes and fans were encouraged to do what they can to be ‘active allies’ for the LGBT+ community. To that end, clubs were provided with resources on how to avoid homophobic language, hate speech and how to report instances of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
Stonewall spokesperson, Kirsty Clarke said: “It’s great to see UK sports banding together in the biggest ever show of support for LGBT people in sport. But it can’t just be the national bodies making this statement. We need every sports fan to do the same and commit to stand up as an ally to LGBT people in their sport and beyond.”
Another premier league star, and LGBT+ advocate, Olivier Giroud, opened up back in 2018 and said that it is “impossible” to be openly gay in the football world.
“In the dressing room, there is a lot of testosterone, teasing and collective showers. It is delicate, but that is how it is,” said Olivier
Giroud, who has been an advocate for the LGBT+ community since he posed for the front cover of gay magazine Têtu in 2012. He believes there is still a long way to go before players feel comfortable enough to come out.
He said, “I can understand the pain and the difficulty for guys in coming out, it is a real challenge and it takes a year of work on yourself. I am ultra-tolerant on it when I joined Montpellier, I got involved in the fight for tolerance and was on the cover of Tetu, which is a French gay magazine.”
“At Arsenal when they asked me to wear the ‘Rainbow Laces’ in support of the gay community, I did it” he concluded.
The Chelsea footballer didn’t just wear the laces, he took part in a Stonewall advert which urged viewers to “kick homophobia out of football”.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
For 30 years GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community. We want to go on providing this community hub in print and online, helping countless individuals across the country, but the revenue from advertising across the media is falling.
GCN needs your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from only €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.