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Footballer Becomes First Australian Player To Come Out As Gay

Former Newcastle Jets player Andy Brennan has come out as gay -- the first Australian footballer to publicly do so.

In a heartfelt post on social media, Brennan said the admission had taken him "years to get comfortable" with saying.

"I was scared it would affect my friendships, my teammates, and my family. But the support of the people around me has been so great and helped me get to the final step; being completely open," he said.

"Being open is the best way for me to feel most comfortable and be myself. "

Brennan played five matches in the A-League with the Newcastle Jets between 2015 and 2017, and now plays for Melbourne club Green Gully.

In a statement from Brennan posted by players union Professional Footballers Australia, he said being a gay player in sport has been a "mental burden" of not knowing how those around him would react.

"For so long, I wasn’t sure about myself and I certainly wasn’t comfortable talking about how I felt. I guess I was grappling with a reality that I wasn’t really aware of," he said.

"In fact, I’ve only become comfortable with it in the last year, which means for the best part of the last decade -- most of my adult life -- I’ve been pretty unsure of myself. "

Brennan said the turning point came last year, but since then he has been the "happiest" he's been in the long time.

"After this realisation and fear of wasting more of the future, I finally admitted it all to myself," he said.

He first told a close friend in November last year, and said that despite it being incredibly difficult, his mate was "brilliant".

Next came telling his family, who he also called "incredible and supportive".

Brennan also praised his teammates and coaches at his current club Green Gully.

"It is an environment where people could be unfairly worried about someone who is gay being in there, but my teammates haven’t changed towards me," he said.

"They haven’t made me feel different or uncomfortable. That is the biggest thing."

Brennan said his coming out in 2019 shouldn't be a "big deal".

"It’s a strange feeling, but I guess in a way I’m the one breaking through the wall here in Australia," he said.

"Statistically looking at it, people playing the sport, whether it would be football or AFL or any other sport in Australia, there must be more male players who are gay."