English player opens up about being the only gay footballer as far as he is aware

Gainsborough Trinity player Liam Davis is unaware of any other gay footballers currently playing.

Thomas Hitzlsperger's announcement that he was gay last week made the headlines all over the world.

Perhaps some would think it is not newsworthy at all, and I can see that point of view. But it is rather the fact there are so few in the sport who are openly gay which causes the stories to be written.

Robbie Rogers and Thomas Hitzlsperger have only made their announcements about their sexuality once they had retired from the sport (Rogers has since returned with LA Galaxy). Hitzlsperger said that he would be fine around his players in the dressing room, but that on the pitch he would become more susceptible to fans taunts and actions. Therefore it is hard to see anyone coming out whilst still playing football.

However there is an openly gay footballer still playing, in England; Gainsborough Trinity's Liam Davis, and he hopes that more footballers can follow in the footsteps of Rogers and Hitzlsperger.

He told the Lincolnshire Echo that as far as he is aware there are no other footballers in the country who are gay and currently playing.

"There is none that I know of,” said Davis. “I thought about it the other day, they believe that five percent of the population is gay, so if you halve that for gender, that means there is 2.5 per cent gay men."

Now, with football played so much from the top level down to non-league, there has to be more than one, statistics say that. So what that says to me there must be some who are not comfortable to come out."

Fortunately Liam Davis was comfortable enough to come out. He is just 23 years old and should have many years left in the game, hopefully by the time he hangs up his boots there are more openly gay footballers playing in the country.

Gainsborough Trinity currently play in the Conference North which is the sixth tier of football in England. Being at this level will have made it easier for Davis with it not being a very high profile league. If there was an openly gay footballer in the Premier League then there would be much more attention on that player, and that perhaps is why we have yet to see a player come out whilst playing.

Davis who plays as a winger, said his teammates were very supportive and have made him feel very welcome at the club since he arrived last summer.

"That is the one thing I will say I really enjoy about playing for Gainsborough, is that it is a very close knit group of lads. Some of them have known each other for years and the others that come in are made to feel welcome, nobody is made to feel an outcast.”

It can be very daunting for a footballer stepping out to 60,000 people in a football stadium all in good voice. Football fans can be very harsh and don't think too much about a player's feelings. If they had something to use as abuse, then there will always be a minority that will. A footballers best friends are often in the dressing room so they don't have too worry about that. As Davis says, his teammates make him feel comfortable so he doesn't worry about that.

In this day and age there are many openly gay people on television and they are not subjected to abuse and taunts. It is something that is present on a daily basis, so there should not be a taboo in football.

Due to Gainsborough only being a part-time club, Davis feels it is easier for him to talk about his sexuality with his teammates as they have a life outside of the game too. Davis wants to fight for equality in football, just as there is equality in so many other professions.

My partner and I work in the same place and it will probably come across that we are a couple,” said Davis.

But people do not walk out of our restaurant because of that. They come in for some good food and good service"

It should be the same in football. I should be able to picked, or not picked, on merit, not because of my sexuality. You are there to play and do a good job for your team.”

Liam hits the nail right on the head there. He is a footballer, and should only be judged on his performances on the pitch. Who cares about anything else? He is paid to play football and that's all that matters. Nobody would be scrutinised or picked upon in another job for their sexuality.

Whilst this is big news right now, I hope that in ten years time if and when a footballer reveals he's gay that nobody cares. We should all be used to it by then and nobody should be shocked. Liam Davis should be one of many gay footballers playing in the country by then. 

image: © twicepix

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