Lahm advises gay players not to go public while active
From the writing
La Jornada newspaper
Thursday, February 18, 2021, p. a11
Soccer is not prepared to accept sexual diversity, says Phillip Lahm, former captain of Bayern Munich and a member of the German national team that won Brazil 2014. In his autobiography entitled The Game: The World of Soccer, the advance of which is published by the newspaper Bild, The former footballer recommends that homosexual players do not make their preference public, as they would face intolerance still very present in their society.
Lahm recommends that they stay out of the closet, at least when they’re active players. That they do not do it even in front of their teammates, because they would become the object of attacks and harassment, both from intolerant rivals and in the stadiums where they appear.
From his point of view, Lahm admits that there are more open cities that recognize diversity, but he also explains that making themselves visible as gays in football makes them more vulnerable to attacks in societies that do not end up accepting homosexuality.
“Tolerance is still lacking in the world of soccer and in society in general,” the former player writes.
If a footballer has the maturity to open up his sexual identity, Lahm considers that unfortunately the social response will not be reciprocal.
He would not find that same maturity in his rivals or in the stadiums in which he will play, says Lahm; would have to face insults and defamations, who would bear it?
When in other sports some personalities have publicly declared their homosexuality, most when they have retired, although there are cases that they have done so while they are active, as did the NBA basketball player, Jason Collins, and in the NFL, Ryan Russell, in soccer it’s still taboo.
I would advise (a homosexual footballer) not to dare to come out of the closet during his playing time, he warns in the book.
Lahm alludes to the case of the also former Bundesliga player, Thomas Hitzlsperger, who at the end of his career made his homosexual identity public. A decision that he considers in the book as prudent.
Meanwhile, in German soccer more than 800 players from various professional leagues have launched a campaign to support the homosexual community with the slogan You Count on Us.
In a collective statement published by the magazine 11 Freunde, the rejection of fear experienced by those who want to make their sexual preference public and for that reason are self-conscious; while wondering how it is possible that in the 21st century there is not a single active footballer in all of Germany who is openly gay.