Former English professional footballer, Thomas Beattie, 33, has let the world know that he is gay.
Beattie played for Hull City’s youth team then played professionally for more than 10 years in the United States, Canada, and Singapore before sustaining a serious head injury in a game, forcing him to end his playing career early.
Speaking in an interview with Advocate, Beattie admitted that he did not feel comfortable coming out during his professional career.
He said: ‘I never thought about coming out whilst playing. I literally felt like I had to sacrifice one of the two: who I am, or the sport I loved before I could remember.’
‘I used football as a form of escapism and in many ways, it saved me, until I reached the point in life where there was some personal growth. I was standing still on that front. Society [told] me masculinity is linked to sexuality and so being an athlete playing a physical sport felt like a huge contradiction.’
‘It’s still a new and current process for me to be honest,’ he says of coming out. ‘I told close friends and family three months ago, which was when I decided to embark on the journey of speaking openly about it.
‘As an athlete, it was something that was unspoken about, which is why I want to share my story in hopes that there will eventually be more support for people in a similar situation.
‘I recently started to tell some of my old teammates who have been amazing and treated me not a single ounce differently. They know I’m the same lad I was 10 minutes before telling them so that’s been refreshing.’