This week, Jake Daniels became the UK’s first active male professional footballer to come out publicly as gay. With more than 3 decades since the last male professional footballer in the UK felt comfortable enough to come out, it suggests that the homophobic culture in football hasn’t changed.
In his interview with Sky Sports, when talking about why he has chosen now to come out, he speaks about how he processed everyday how he wanted to do it and when he wanted to do it and now feels ready to share his story. This is a great example of how important it is that each person has total control over this decision. No one should ever feel pressured into coming out or worse, be outed by others.
“The day after we played Accrington and I scored four, so it just shows how much of a weight off the shoulders it was.” At just 17 years old, Jake is an inspiration to many to be their true selves and has demonstrated how liberating it can be to finally embrace that.
It is encouraging to see other footballers congratulating Jake on his bravery and courage. This has sparked a conversation about how we can create a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ people in football.
Jake spoke about being inspired by Australian footballer Josh Cavallo who came out as gay very recently, so it is evident the impact one person speaking up can have on others. Hopefully Jake’s story has opened the door for other male footballers in the UK, and across the globe, to be able to be open about their sexuality if they choose to do so. In Jake’s words, ‘love will always win’.