Thomas Beattie is coming out.
The 33-year-old English soccer player, who played professionally from 2018 to 2015, opened up on social media and in an exclusive personal story for ESPN on Tuesday (June 23).
“It’s time to share something very personal to me. It’s easier to sit in silence but the real challenge is to speak up and for me it’s time live my truth and hopefully affect change in some way. I am a brother, son, friend and I’m gay. It took me a long time to accept who I am and I hope it is a little easier for the next generation. Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this process and the journey to come, I appreciate you. Thank you to @espn @espnuk for the platform to speak openly,” he wrote on his Instagram.
“Being gay and having a career in football never felt like an option. Society told me my masculinity was linked to my sexuality — something we of course know is a false assumption — but I felt as if I couldn’t be a footballer and accept who I was. Everything around me suggested these two worlds were pure enemies, and I had to sacrifice one in order to survive,” he wrote.
“To anyone struggling with identity reading this story, I want you to realize that the one specific moment you can learn to embrace and truly understand who you are, that’s the moment you become powerful,” he continued.
“And to the world of football — players, coaches, management, ownership, supporters — I challenge you to be compassionate. Search inside and ask yourself: What is it you truly believe about diversity, inequality and social injustice?”
“I hope in time these things no longer have to be spoken about. I realize to get to that point, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done. But I would love to be part of that conversation, and have a seat at the table,” he concluded. Click here to read his full story.
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