Australian football player Andy Brennan, 26, posted a picture of himself smiling on the football field on his social media, declaring that he is gay.
“It’s taken me years to get comfortable saying this – I’m gay. I was scared it would affect my friendships, my teammates, and my family,” read the Tuesday May 14 post.
“But the support of the people around me has been so great and helped me get to the final step; being completely open. Being open is the best way for me to feel most comfortable and be myself. So… carry on!”
Brennan also posted a video shot by the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) in which he discusses his decision to come out.
“I’ve been carrying this burden with me for so long about being gay and now I’ve come to the realisation that I can be open with it, speak to people about it and it’s OK. It’s something I’ve been wanting to share with people who may be going through the same thing”.
Speaking to the Herald-Sun, Brennan elaborated on why it was important for him to come out.
“Six months ago I thought about it a lot, tried to hide it and push it aside because of the way I thought it would be perceived by many,” he recalled.
“It got to the point where I couldn’t waste any more time being in relationships that I wasn’t comfortable in and wouldn’t come to anything. You’ve got to realize that’s who you are and you’ve just got to be who you are, whether you’re gay or whatever, whoever you are”.
Brennan is the first male rugby player in Australia to come out as gay. The athlete’s decision to come out happens at a significant time in Australian sports.
Controversial rugby player Israel Folau was recently sacked after his anti-gay posts engulfed the Aussie nation, which sparked a conversation about homophobia on the field.
Brennan, however, received lots of positive messages for doing so.
“Proud of you mate. You are a great person and an amazing role model,” wrote Fellow football player and former teammate Nigel Boogaard.