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German Chancellor Angela Merkel Expresses Support for Anonymous Gay Footballer Afraid to Come Out

A gay German pro footballer, in an interview with the web publication Fluter, said that he's afraid to come out of the closet for fear of his safety, prompting a response from Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Said the footballer: Germansports_homophobia

"The price I pay for living my dream as a Bundesliga player is high. I have to be an actor every day and go into self-denial. Unlike other celebrities, football players have to follow the footballer stereotype. They have to love sports, fight aggressively and be a role model at the same time. And gays don't follow that formula. I would not be safe any more if my sexuality was made public. I know of other Bundesliga players who are gay as well. We don't meet - it would just be too noticeable. It is a difficult parallel universe which continues inside the team. We don't talk about it much, nevertheless everyone knows about it. They sometimes ask me about my partner. I know all their stories from the papers, but they have to ask me to find out."

ESPN reports:

The player, who spoke to Fluter, said he, along with several other players in Germany's top division, is gay and explained: "I have to be an actor every day and go into self-denial."

His remarks led Merkel, speaking at a press conference in Berlin, to say: "You need not fear. I am of the opinion that everyone who has the strength and courage [to come out] should know that we live in a state where he essentially does not have to be fearful. That is my political statement."

The NYT adds:

He said he felt compelled to “put on an act and deny his true self” to square his public image with the expectations of fans, who are after a “stereotype of masculinity.” He also said the news media circus all but certain to ensue in the first few weeks after the first coming out of an active player was a major deterrent to going public.

Image: a German campaign fighting homophobia in sports featured two players kissing, and read: “Would you also beat up your favorite player for this?”

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Comments

  1. It's a very similar feeling to being a Jew who didn't look Jewish in Hitler's Germany. Some of your neighbors knew, would they turn you in, or in this case, out? How long did you have before someone found out and did something to you? Ah, just like the good old days.

    Posted by: i could go on, but I won't | Sep 14, 2012 1:41:57 PM


  2. The problem is that while the team would probably handle it well, the media would be all over him for a long time. Being gay would overshadow everything. And football fans (who usually aren't too bright) are already brutal enough and insult every player they don't like - often in extremely offensive ways.

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 14, 2012 1:43:26 PM


  3. It is nice the German chancellor just paying lip service. What has she done to facilitate the change of laws to bring about equality just as her neighbours are going to do.

    Posted by: simon | Sep 14, 2012 2:06:49 PM


  4. Isn't Angela Merkel a social conservative? So this is really just lip-service. The US has it's fair share of problems as we all know regarding equality, but the issue of LGBT athletes within sports in America is without a doubt improving with the many initiatives going on to show support towards LGBT athletes, supporting players from several different leagues speaking out, support out athletes are receiving. Soccer in the US doesn't attract the same crowd that it attracts in other parts of the world, though, so this is a totally different phenomenon.

    I can never forget the fact that a couple years ago there was a campaign from the Premier League and Football Association, the governing body of football in England, and ZERO footballers supported the campaign. None of them were persuaded to help. If no-one is willing to even be honest about the fact that gay players exist in European football, that shows just how far we are from seeing a breakthrough.

    Posted by: Francis | Sep 14, 2012 2:25:35 PM


  5. Well Simon I think she handles the sport thing and not the matters regarding legislations. She can only support in her limited capability or are you assuming her to leave her office aside and start protesting for everything that's wrong. You should be appreciate that she took notice of this and is vocal in this regard when a lot of politicians don't even consider it a good enough issue to be discussed. Better start the change you wish from yourself than expecting others to do it.

    Posted by: Pommie | Sep 14, 2012 2:28:26 PM


  6. If you want equality, you have to work for it; it isn't given to you. You have to MAKE it happen, you have to DEMAND it.

    Waiting for elected politicians to lead ?

    Yeah, that's a real great, effective strategy.

    Meanwhile, back in the USA, in 28 states, you can be fired from you job for being out and gay.

    Who's to blame ?

    Look in the f*cking mirror people. We didn't get this far sitting around complaining. Some of us sacrificed everything we had, our jobs, our safety, some of us even sacrificed our sanity to get this far.

    While the rest of you did exactly what ? Sat your asses on a bar stool or did a bunch of drugs or danced your lives away ?

    It's always up to somebody else to do it FOR you; a public figure, some politician, SOMEBODY ELSE.

    It starts with YOU, and the repercussions are substantial. And before all the typical screaming queens that post here start with their tedious excuses, their endless bitching, their inane claims that they aren't just as anonymous here as anybody else, STFU.

    I've had rocks and bottles thrown at me at the first gay pride i went to where I was living at the time. I've taken petitions to deny our equal right to HR and DEMANDED an apology, I've CONFRONTED the people that would fire us from our jobs and deny us a place to live, just because we're gay.

    WTF have YOU done, WTF price have YOU paid ? Have you lost your job, have you met challenges head on, or do you just sit in your little sheltered ghetto and talk to people that are already on our side all f*cking day ?

    Macing 14 year old girls isn't progress, clubbing all night isn't progress, talking s*it about Germany isn't progress.

    SOMEBODY ELSE has done it all FOR you, now get off your asses and DO something for yoursevles for a f*cking change.

    Posted by: Yes I Am Annoymous So Are You Assholes | Sep 14, 2012 2:29:58 PM


  7. Coming out in Germany? A country not known historically for it's tolerance. Some things in Germany haven't changed in 50 years.

    Posted by: terry | Sep 14, 2012 2:30:28 PM


  8. Who the f8ck used my name? I didn't write the above comment. I hope it's someone with the same name.

    Posted by: Pommie | Sep 14, 2012 2:33:25 PM


  9. i strongly encourage you, Anonymous, to put a face and name to your apparent passion.

    getting off your @ss to actively embody and work for change is great. so is saying what you say from a place that is not anonymous.

    screaming anonymously online isn't exactly 'progress', either. and i encourage you to take your passion and ideals and give a face to them.

    p.s. ROCK ON, MERKEL!

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Sep 14, 2012 2:36:10 PM


  10. Have a great day Kiwi. :)

    Posted by: Pommie | Sep 14, 2012 2:43:06 PM


  11. Those kissing guys are champs indeed. I grin with bliss when two men kiss.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Sep 14, 2012 2:44:30 PM


  12. So I used the word "f-u-ck" and my comment didn't go through. WTF!?!?!

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 14, 2012 2:45:29 PM


  13. "Terry" is talking out of his/her ass suggesting that Germany today is anything like it was during WWII or the decades immediately after. It's certainly not perfect, but legally and symbolically it's light years ahead of the United States [where no professional sports star has come out while still playing either]. Civil unions and some gay adoption rights have been legal throughout Germany for years. In case you hadn't noticed, our federal government still refuses to recognize ANY kind of same gender relationship. Gays have served openly in the US military for only a year—in Germany: 12 years. Not only is gay job discrimination illegal, but Germany is the first country in the world to ban discrimination based on gender identity. And both the country's Foreign Minister and Berlin's Mayor are openly gay while the US has no federal official higher than a deputy undersecretary of the Navy out gay [though he's been nominated to be an Air Force undersecretary], and no out mayor of any American city of comparable size. Finally, at least seven German cities have memorials to gays who died under/were oppressed by the Nazis while in the US, some four times the size of Germany, I'm aware of only 2. Vielen dank.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Sep 14, 2012 3:45:56 PM


  14. KIWI, as others have repeatedly pointed out to you, YOU are no less anonymous than anybody else here. There's no way to link your blog to anything that actually validates that ANY of the pictures are you, or that you are who you say you are.

    And there's absolutely no reason anyone should give up photos of themselves just so that some faker, like yourself, can use them for his many alternate FAKE identities on line.

    So spare everyone your idiotic little queeny rants about anonymity, you big lying phony !

    Posted by: "The Gay" | Sep 14, 2012 4:31:26 PM


  15. or you can accept the reality that screaming for equality and for others to stand up and represent, while you yourself give excuses not to, is just intellectually dishonest.

    :)

    it's not about giving up photos. it's about putting your face to your specific message. you know, like when we Come Out?

    well...those of us who've actually done it....

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Sep 14, 2012 4:35:56 PM


  16. Yes I Am Annoymous So Are You Assholes is another Rick/Jason/Ratbastard alias. You can tell by his/her talking points and wording, which mirrors the likes of Rick/Jason/Ratbastard. Ignore the troll please.

    Posted by: MateoM | Sep 14, 2012 4:56:27 PM


  17. Now you'r backpedaling. YOU are the one that's constantly screaming about "anonymity" here, now you say it's just putting a face to a message ?

    Come on, have a little integrity.

    It's easy for YOU to sit on your ass while everyone else that's actually suffered and already lost so much and tell them their opinions don't matter, while YOU enjoy protections and privileges they don't have.

    A little TOO easy, I'd say.

    Some of our bruises are actually REAL, KIWI, and it's not a pathetic fetish, we LIVED them.

    Enjoy the freedom you have from everybody else's sacrifices, you parasitic little hypocrite.

    Posted by: "The Gay" | Sep 14, 2012 4:59:47 PM


  18. I empathize with the player's concerns; coming out is seldom easy and often scary. Nevertheless, things seldom turn out as bad as we fear or as good as we hope. The reality is more than the player's claims. The outcomes he fears _may_ happen; then again, they may not.

    My partner lived his entire 72 years in the fear that, "if anyone knew, they couldn't love" him. When he passed away, I came out to all of our friends. It was no surprise to anyone. The upshot was that my partner denied himself the love and acceptance of good friends who knew his "secret."

    That player needs to find one trustworthy other and build his coming out slowly. But only he can take the first step.

    Posted by: Chuck Mielke | Sep 14, 2012 5:54:51 PM


  19. first of all.. the german translation should read: 'would you beat up your favourite football player for this?' no 'also'.

    and Michael Bedwell, I'm German and Equality here is not as advanced as in some US states...and the mayor of Houston is out and proud..

    Posted by: yadda | Sep 14, 2012 7:20:19 PM


  20. But I thought Germany was such a gay-friendly place with laws that are quite good to gays. Perhaps it isn't as gay-friendly as claimed.

    I think what we're seeing is a dual system, namely legal and social. At the level of the legal, Germany is quite good to gays. At the level of the social convention, it isn't as good. This dichotomy is not uncommon in Western countries.

    I really also have to take exception with that photo of the two soccer players kissing. It is a celebratory kiss, not a sexual kiss. It's offensive to use it to illustrate the important issue of sexuality - totally offensive. No wonder we can't seem to make progress when male-male sexuality is trivialized with such distortions.

    Posted by: jason | Sep 14, 2012 7:23:26 PM


  21. I'm sorry, but this guy strikes me as kind whiny. I'm sure he would face some difficulties, but he's already facing some difficulties and, by telling everyone he's scared to come out, he's just making his eventual coming-out or someone else's harder.

    Either stay in the closet and let someone else be the first German superstar soccer player to come out or, come out yourself.

    Posted by: BobN | Sep 14, 2012 7:44:04 PM


  22. I'm sorry, but this guy strikes me as kind whiny. I'm sure he would face some difficulties, but he's already facing some difficulties and, by telling everyone he's scared to come out, he's just making his eventual coming-out or someone else's harder.

    Either stay in the closet and let someone else be the first German superstar soccer player to come out or, come out yourself.

    Posted by: BobN | Sep 14, 2012 7:44:06 PM


  23. I'm sorry, but this guy strikes me as kind whiny. I'm sure he would face some difficulties, but he's already facing some difficulties and, by telling everyone he's scared to come out, he's just making his eventual coming-out or someone else's harder.

    Either stay in the closet and let someone else be the first German superstar soccer player to come out or, come out yourself.

    Posted by: BobN | Sep 14, 2012 7:44:06 PM


  24. 1st off, America's biggest NFL star is a big ol'homo. Mr. Tim I don't date girls because of my morals yet morality makes no such request Tebow. Go YouTube "Tim Tebow gay" and watch the gurl flame out.

    2ndly, who in the Hell gets off asking what someone else has done for gay rights while inferring its nothing? Personally I moved from nyc to the most wretched homophobic redneck town where in one week I was told I would get beat up for being gay. I worked at the local gas station and was 100% out and it was the most difficult year by far of my life. I cried more that year then all the other 40 years combined times 1,000 wondering why God was doing what He was doing. But I stayed out and proud, even when it was the police who were the real threat, total closet cases of the force, and you know what. I f'n changed that town for I was probably the first man they met that was honest so don't ask me nor anyone else what we uVr done for gay rights.

    Posted by: Michael | Sep 14, 2012 10:34:52 PM


  25. Sorry, I was told by three different people in one week I would get beaten up for being gay... My roommate, the guy I was seeing and a guy at some bar who said he would do it himself if he didn't have a gay brother. That year sucked.

    Posted by: Michael | Sep 14, 2012 10:36:35 PM


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