John M. Becker

German Soccer Star Thomas Hitzlsperger Comes Out

Filed By John M. Becker | January 08, 2014 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: coming out, Germany, soccer, Thomas Hitzlsperger, welcome out

Thomas-Hitzlsperger.jpgThomas Hitzlsperger, the 31-year-old recently-retired German soccer star, came out as a gay man in an interview with the newspaper Die Zeit.

The Guardian reports that Hitzlsperger decided to come out in order to raise awareness about gay professional athletes:

Hitzlsperger... retired in September last year, having also played for Lazio in Italy and Wolfsburg. "It's been a long and difficult process" [of becoming aware of being gay]. Only in the last few years have I realised that I preferred living together with a man," Hitzlsperger added.

"In England, Italy and Germany being a homosexual is no big thing, at least not in the dressing room," he said, before adding: "I was never ashamed of being who I am but it was not always easy to sit on a table with 20 young men and listen to jokes about gays. You let them get on with it as long as the jokes are somewhat funny and not too insulting.

"Being gay is topic that is 'ignored' in football and not 'a serious topic in the changing room'. Fighting spirit, passion and winning mentality are intrinsically linked, that doesn't fit the cliché: 'Gays are soft'".

According to the BBC, he's the fourth and most prominent pro soccer player to come out of the closet.

Welcome out, Thomas!

h/t: Towleroad

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