The Most Famous Gay Footballers In The Modern Game

Football is the most popular sport in the world. But strangely there has been very few footballers that have come out as gay.

Homosexuality in English and world football is still a taboo subject and one that is shared by both players and the media. In all of the professional leagues in England ( 5 divisions ) there are zero openly gay footballers. That is a very sad statistic when you consider that roughly 1 in 10 males are gay in the UK.

Coming out as a gay man in the world of football is a scary thing and one that takes a hell of a lot of courage and bravery. The fear of discrimination, violence and abuse towards homosexual footballers is a clear and definite barrier.

In this list we want to highlight and celebrate the brave men that have made the decision to tell the world about their sexuality and come out as gay.

 

List of Openly Gay Male Footballers

NameNationalityCareerDate of coming out
Justin FashanuEngland1978–19971990
Thomas BerlingNorway1999–20012001
Olivier RouyerFrance1973–19902008
Anton HysénSweden2008–2011
David TestoUnited States2003–20112011
Robbie RogersUnited States2005–20172013
Thomas HitzlspergerGermany2001–20132014
Liam DavisEngland2009–2014
Phuti LekoloaneSouth Africa2010–2015
Collin MartinUnited States2013–2018
Matt PacificiUnited States20162019
Andy BrennanAustralia2010-2019
Thomas BeattieEngland2008–20152020
Stephen LaybuttAustralia1995–20102020
Josh CavalloAustralia2017-2021

 

Justin Fashanu

Justin Fashanu came out as gay in the 1990’s. It was a time where being a black footballer was hard enough. Coming out as a gay black man was even harder. Justin was the first professional footballer to come out as gay. He did an exclusive interview with the Sun newspaper. From that day onwards, Justin did not receive a single contract offer to play for a professional football club.

 

Thomas Hitzlsperger

One highest-profile football players who came out as gay was Thomas Hitzlsperger.  He played for premier league giants Aston Villa, and Everton as well as  Stuggart. He retired at the very early age of 31 back in 2013 due to medical reasons. It was after his retirement that he came out as gay. In 2014, most of the football community around Thomas was very supportive of his decision to come out as a gay man.

Hitzlsperger spends a lot of his time helping other footballers to find their voices when it comes to their sexuality, educating clubs and the wider football community and helping gay players to not be ashamed of being a gay.

 

Anton Hysen

Anton Hysen came out as gay back in 2011 when he was just 20 years old whilst playing for Swedish team Utsiktens BK.

He became only the second professional football player who came out as gay while playing professional football.

 

Josh Cavallo

Josh Cavallo plays for Australia’s A-League team Adelaide United. He came out as gay in October 2021 and is now the only openly gay professional footballer in the world. He said in a statement “I hope that in sharing who I am, I can show others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community.”

Well done Josh!!

 

Robbie Rogers

Robbie Rogers played for clubs such as Leeds United and LA Galaxy. He came out as a gay man in 2013, shortly after he left Leeds United. He stated that being an openly gay man in professional football was “impossible”. He announced his retirement from the sport, but subsequently signed a multi-year contract with the LA Galaxy.

 

David Testo

David Testo was the first professional American footballer (soccer) who came out gay.  He came out while giving an interview on the French Canadian division of Radio Canada in November 2011. He played for Richmond Kickers, Vancouver Whitecaps, and Montreal Impacts.

 

Olivier Rouyer

Olivier Rouyer was a french professional footballer who came out after retiring as a player and coach. He was a member of the 1978 French world cup squad.

 

Thomas Berling

Thomas Berling came out as gay after he retired from professional football in 2000. He said the reason for retiring was the widespread homophobia in the football community. Thomas played for Norwegian clubs Nardo FK and Lyn.

Neal Merchant

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