The next time a high-profile footballer, like former German international Thomas Hitzlsperger, comes out as gay, I’d like our collective response to be along the lines of, “That’s just great. Good for you,” and for that to be the end of it. Coming out and declaring that you’re not like the heterosexual majority (not that it’s anyone’s business) ought to be about as interesting as telling someone what you’ve had for breakfast. But instead we make a terrific fuss and then in the same breath wonder why it is that more high-profile players haven’t come out. Is it really so hard to understand?
The media circus that attends each ‘outing’ event would make any footballer think twice about telling the world that he’s gay. I wonder if it occurs to journalists that the best way of encouraging and supporting anyone thinking of making such a public declaration of their sexuality, is to simply wish them all the best, and to refuse to participate in the conjecture, speculation and endless theorising that asks why now, why not before and who’s next? It’s not about ignoring or pretending that it’s insignificant, it’s about making a statement that in the 21st century, being gay really ought not to be that big a deal.