Metro Weekly

Hundreds of German soccer stars come out in support of LGBTQ players

More than 800 players said that if a soccer player came out, they would have "our full support and solidarity"

German, soccer, lgbtq
Images of German soccer stars from 11Freunde’s campaign

In a welcome show of support, over 800 professional soccer players in Germany have backed a campaign for LGBTQ players.

German magazine 11Freunde (11 friends) launched the campaign with images of several stars of Germany’s professional association football league, Bundesliga, holding signs reading, “Ihr könnt auf uns zählen!” (You can count on us!”)

“Even in 2021, there will not be a single openly homosexual footballer in the German men’s professional leagues,” the players said in a joint statement. “The fear of being attacked and ostracized after coming out and of jeopardizing one’s career as a professional footballer is apparently still so great that gay footballers believe they have to hide their sexuality.”

They continued: “No one should be forced to come out. That is the free decision of each individual. But we want everyone who decides to do so to be sure of our full support and solidarity.”

The players said that it is a fundamental right for someone to freely express their sexuality and “that is why we say to all those who are struggling with this decision: We will support and encourage you and, if necessary, also defend you against hostility. Because you are doing the right thing, and we are on your side.”

Union Berlin star Max Kruse wrote, “all people are equal no matter their skin color, religion, or sexual orientation.”

“If one of my colleagues were to come out, I would protect them from the idiots outside our team who feel disturbed, or really threatened by homosexuality,” he continued.

The campaign received a stamp of approval from Thomas Hitzlsperger, a retired German soccer player who came out as gay in 2014. He tweeted, “Another step in the right direction — well played, 11Freunde.”

However, the launch of 11Freunde‘s campaign comes after former German soccer captain Philipp Lahm cautioned gay players against coming out while they were still active in the sport.

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