Main | Friday, March 18, 2011

SWEDEN: Soccer Star Comes Out

Swedish soccer star Anton Hysen, 20, has come out. I missed this story when it first broke last week, but this morning a JMG reader in Sweden tips us to today's story in Britain's tabloid, The Sun.
Anton Hysen was a professional footballer dating a supermodel. Hardly a trail-blazing story, the son of former Liverpool star and Swedish heart-throb Glenn Hysen merely appeared to be a chip off the old block. Yet the youngster ended the relationship with this stunning woman after finally confronting the fact he is gay. Hysen, 20, has displayed enormous courage by making his sexuality public and is only the second professional footballer in Europe to do so after Justin Fashanu in 1990. England cricketer Steve Davies and rugby star Gareth Thomas are the only other prominent British sportsmen to come out, as the wait continues for a Premier League or Football League player to break this sporting taboo. Former Swedish Under-17 international Hysen plays for Utsiktens, the fourth-tier team managed by his dad. And he insists the reaction to his news has been extremely supportive. He said: "I have so many reasons to be positive about the situation."
Hysen's soccer coach father was accused of homophobia in a 2001 incident in which he punched a man he said came on to him in an airport restroom. Several years later the elder Hysen spoke at a Stockholm pride festival, encouraging young athletes to come out and leading the younger Hysen to suspect that his dad knew about him by then. Anton Hysen on his own ephiphany: "When you consider dumping a supermodel, you know you are gay."

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