Argentina's first openly gay footballer Nicolás Fernández speaks out about 'taboo' of coming out in football

First openly gay Argentinian football player, Nicolás Fernández, shares why other gay players are afraid to come out and his way of fighting the taboo.

Nicolás Fernández was the first openly gay professional football players in Argentina, he is smiling in front of a grey wall

Openly gay Argentinian football player, Nicolás Fernández, has opened up about the ‘taboo’ surrounding coming out in the world of football and how laughter helps him beat the hate.

Last year, Fernandez came out publicly in a heartwarming Facebook post on June 28 and had told his family before then, as he said,”I told them that if they didn’t like me I was leaving home, that there was no problem. I was 17 years old. But they understood.” Since then, he became the first openly gay soccer player in Argentina.

On the social media platform, he wrote, “I’m happy. Thanks to those who understand. And sorry to those who don’t. Gender does not determine anything and much less speaks of who I am as a person. I am in love and yes, with someone of the same sex.”

Fernandez has recently spoken to Tiempo about his coming out journey, the support he has received from his family and team, as well as the issues still surrounding LGBT+ people being open in the sporting world.

He said, “In football, it is a taboo subject. […] There are gay people out there who feel bad if they hear a joke. It doesn’t happen to me. […] They told me so many things to pressure me to get out of the game. […] They failed to make me angry.”

Same-sex marriage was legalised in Argentina in 2010, which became the first country in Latin America to do so. The legislation also allowed same-sex couples to adopt and five years later, the blood ban on LGBT+ people was lifted. Despite the country achieving victories in terms of equal rights, the world of football still contains numerous pitfalls for LGBT+ players, as Fernandez spoke about having to endure insults and teasing from the crowds. 

In the interview with Tiempo, Nicolás Fernández also highlighted the difference between women’s football and men’s football in terms of openness and acceptance. He said, “It is much more open. In that sense, women’s football is one step ahead. Men’s football is on its way to being more open.”

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