UK’s first active male professional footballer to come out as gay since 1990
Today, Blackpool footballer Jake Daniels became the first active professional male footballer to come out publicly as gay in 32 years.
“I have been thinking for a long time about how I want to do it, when I want to do it. I know now is the time,” he told Sky News. “I am ready to be myself, be free and be confident with it all.”
Having known he was gay since about the age of six, he recalled that he had been “living with the lie” for a “long time”. He had thought that “football and being gay doesn’t mix” at that age, thinking he may “change” as he grew up.
“But as you get older you realise you can’t just change,” Daniels said. “It doesn’t work like that.”
He went on to discuss how the stress and worry of hiding his true self impacted his mental health.
The 17-year-old made his first team debut for Blackpool last week.
Jude Taylor, Together Active CEO, commented:
“As a charity working in sport and physical activity, we applaud Jake’s courage. Coming out is deeply personal, and to have the attention of the public alongside that journey can be difficult. We fully support his brave decision and celebrate that he has felt comfortable and confident enough to share his truth.
“Jake hopes to be a role model to others who might be struggling with their sexuality in the sport, and we hope the same. No one should have to hide who they are. Sport should be an open, inclusive and supportive environment for all.
“Together Active is passionate about creating accessible and equal opportunities for everyone to be involved with sport and physical activity. We recently launched our ED&I Strategy as part of our commitment to become a more inclusive, self-reflective and progressive organisation.”