Yesterday, former Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger revealed that he is gay. ‘Der Hammer’ retired from professional football last September after suffering persistent injuries.
Obviously, this has been a major news story since it first broke and the overall reaction to it has been positive. All I can say is fair play to Thomas as it’s a very brave thing he’s done! It’s a shame he’s had to wait until his retirement to announce his sexuality.
The thing I question about all this is why does it matter at all? Why is it news in any sense?
There was a similar situation with Olympic diver Tom Daley a few weeks ago. Why is this news? If David Beckham decided to announce he was straight, would anybody take any notice? Probably but only because it would be an extremely odd announcement. So why is it any different for sportsmen and women who are gay?
I understand it’s big for them because they may fear persecution from the audiences they perform before, especially in football, or they fear the reaction of team-mates and fellow professionals. It is a sorry indicator of the state of the world we live in that these are still fears faced by those considered different to the norm.
This may be a pointless statement to make but there is nothing wrong with being gay. Any sane person knows this. Why should it matter that a sports personality? Why is it news? What does it matter?
The reaction to Hitzlsperger’s revelation has mainly been extremely positive from what I’ve seen, although you have to question the state of the footballing community when people get a pat on the back for not judging someone on his sexuality.
People should be comfortable being who they are, irrespective of their professions. The fact that a footballer coming out has created such big news is just sad, in my opinion.
Hitzlsperger said, “I’m coming out about my homosexuality because I want to move the discussion about homosexuality among professional sportspeople forwards.” Let’s hope he achieves that aim.
Thank you for reading.