Former English footballer Thomas Beattie has come out as gay. He became only the second male professional player from the UK to come out, 30 years after British footballer Justin Fashanu became the first openly gay player in 1990. The 33-year-old came through the youth ranks of Hull City before playing professionally in the United States, Canada and Singapore. Tom Daley Urges Gay Footballers to Be Open About Sexuality.

Thomas Beattie said that it was hard for him to accept who he is and didn’t feel comfortable coming out during his playing days. The former footballer in an Instagram post wrote ‘It's time to share something very personal to me. It's easier to sit in silence but the real challenge is to speak up.’ FIFA World Cup 2022: Everyone Welcome? Gay Football Fans Prepare for Qatar.

‘For me it's time to live my truth and hopefully affect change in some way. I am a brother, son, friend and I'm gay. It took me a long time to accept who I am and I hope it is a little easier for the next generation.’ He added.

Beattie first revealed he was gay during an interview with ESPN on Tuesday (June 23, 2030) and later while speaking to LGBT news website The Advocate, Beattie stated ‘I never thought about coming out whilst playing. I literally felt like I had to sacrifice one of the two: who I am, or the sport I loved before I could remember’

‘I used football as a form of escapism and in many ways it saved me, until I reached the point in life where there was some personal growth. I was standing still on that front. Society (told) me masculinity is linked to sexuality and so being an athlete playing a physical sport felt like a huge contradiction.’ He said further.

Current Watford captain Troy Deeney recently said on the Grounded with Louis Theroux podcast that he believes there is ‘probably one gay player in every football team.’ Beattie is only the fourth professional male footballer to come out as gay after playing in Britain after Fashanu, Thomas Hitzlsperger from Germany, and Robbie Rogers from the US.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 25, 2020 08:46 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website