This is our truth, tell us yours
any suggestion this post is solely to make Carter smile with pictures of buff men is refuted most strongly 😉
The news this morning is reporting that Thomas Hitzlsperger, former Everton and Aston Villa first team footballer, now retired, has announced he is gay. This is making the news because he is what the sports pages like to call “top flight” even if he no longer plays. As usual those who like to pontificate have made claims about football fans being unable to cope, premier league players having to hide their sexuality because of fear of the results. Hitzlsperger says exactly this
“We still have a long way to go because we fear a reaction and we don’t know what will happen,” Hitzlsperger, who won 52 caps for Germany, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“I can’t imagine playing football and doing this at the same time.”
Usually when we are unsure what the reaction to something will be we look around, to see if there is anything similar we can learn from. In 2009 Gareth Thomas came out, he spoke exceptionally movingly of the struggle to understand and accept his sexuality.
Since coming out he has done various celebrity circuit events, but it still as far as an outsider can tell, accepted in both Rugby Union and League. He was not the first Rugby player to come out of course, Ian Roberts preceded him by over 10 years. Also as “top flight” as they come, he played for South Sydney, Wigan, Manly (make your own jokes) and Australia. After retiring he has been chosen for various dream teams and sat on boards that officiate over rughy in Australia.
Oh go on then, for reasearch purposes,
The usual reaction to pointing out there are openly gay accepted sportsmen is that this is Rugby, and so different. What people actually mean is that rugby is middle class, more tolerant, not the nasty and brutish football fans but followed by the sort of people who have picnics at twickers before the match. Which is of course complete and total bollocks. Are they really saying working class men don’t follow Welsh and Australian Rugby? Or that Cornwall and the Borders are middle class enclaves of aga delight? The media as usual as an idea of what is and isn’t working class, and homophobia and football are linked together, and rugby and more cultured attitudes are simply to be expected from the better class of supporters.
I am not saying it is easy for anyone to come out, each person must make their own choices, and decide for themselves what they need to do to for self acceptance However when the media classism adds automatic homophobes to the designation working class is it any surprise that people feel that the reaction to coming out will be so bad that they dare not even contemplate doing it?
Oh and since its apparently obligatory for any story about gay sportsmen.