Andy Brennan has become what is believed to be the first professional Australian soccer player to come out as gay, the AFP reports.
Brennan, who plays for the Green Gully Cavaliers, and formerly played for the Newcastle Jets, for which he made five A-league appearances, came out in an Instagram post.
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The 26-year-old admitted he had been “scared it would affect my friendships, my teammates, and my family,” but reported receiving support from those around him.
“Being open is the best way for me to feel most comfortable and be myself,” he added.
Brennan also penned an essay for Professional Footballers Australia, the trade union representing soccer players, which was accompanied by a video, which he also posted to his Instagram.
“For so long, I wasn’t sure about myself and I certainly wasn’t comfortable talking about how I felt. I guess I was grappling with a reality that I wasn’t really aware of,” he wrote in the essay.
“In fact, I’ve only become comfortable with it in the last year, which means for the best part of the last decade–most of my adult life–I’ve been pretty unsure of myself. In all honesty, that’s been pretty tough.”
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He said his “teammates and coaches were and are truly amazing,” adding, “The overwhelming response has been one of huge support and happiness.”
Brennan argued “statistically…there must be more male players who are gay,” and said he thinks “it’s really important that they see that there’s someone else who has come out, that there are many other people who are the same, and that it is OK. It is fine to be in a sporting environment and play, and people will accept you.”