Six months on from becoming Scotland’s first openly gay senior male footballer, Zander Murray has shared guidance for other LGBTQ+ players in a similar position.
Speaking to The Irish Sun, Bonnyrigg Rose’s number 9 said that players should be able to make their own decision about disclosing their sexuality, adding that “speculation online too about who may or may not be gay can be really upsetting for them”. Murray further noted that a queer footballer’s priority should be to “be happy” and “live as their authentic selves”.
“My advice to any player who was in my position is to work on yourself, trust your guy and begin that journey. If there is a player who is out to their teammates but not the public – that is fair play to them. You don’t have to come out,” he said.
“It’s been an amazing six months for me, but I’m not calling on other gay male players to come out. That’s their business and their decision,” Murray further stated in a written post.
“I just hope my story can help empower others to accept themselves.”
The Scottish League Two striker offered the advice while promoting his new BBC One documentary, Disclosure: Out On The Pitch, which examines the issue of homophobia in football across the UK. Murray himself struggled with a lot of internal conflict regarding his sexuality, admitting that suppressing it was like a form of personal “conversion therapy”.
“I knew I was gay and I fought against it. I fought it because of the kind of conversations I was having in the changing room,” the 31-year-old recalled. “The language we used to describe gay men was not what you would call inclusive. We were just boys and didn’t know any better but it did set me apart from my teammates.”
Now, as an openly gay player, Zander Murray still faces homophobia.
“There is no doubt we are moving in the right direction and changes are being made but holy f*ck there is so much work that needs doing,” he stated.
Like many others, he added: “I have had no negativity from players or backroom staff. It is the fans. This is what we need to continue to work with. We need more allies.”
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