Ex-premiere league footballer, Thomas Hitzlsperger, says that diver Tom Daley influenced his decision to come out.
“It really helped me to see that other professional sports people were acknowledging their sexuality,” he told the Guardian’s Raphael Honigstein.
“I read about John Amaechi, Gareth Thomas and Tom Daley. They weren’t footballers but the fact that they went public gave me the feeling that I was not alone.
“I began to think that I could help other footballers who might be in the same shoes, so that they could see that here’s someone who was even an international.
“I wanted to encourage them, the way that those guys and Robbie Rogers encouraged me.”
Hitzlsperger (pictured left) also said that there was an unhelpful media obsession with finding the first gay footballer, adding that the subject of homosexuality only came up in football dressing rooms “when people were speculating about someone else’s sexuality, but never in their presence”.
The footballer, who played for Everton, West Ham and Aston Villa, has been congratulated for his courage in coming out, but says that he hopes to see a day “when nobody mentions courage in these circumstances anymore, because it will be seen as totally normal that a sports person will speak about his homosexuality, the way others talk about their wives and girlfriends.”
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