Is Woman’s Football The Flint That We Need To Spark The First Openly Gay Premier Leaguer
The last few years have seen a significant increase in fandoms for female football, and that’s never been more the case than with arguably the biggest-ever female World Cup freshly behind us. Now, keen fans are getting stuck into the ’23/’24 ladies’ Champions League season with aplomb, and they’re supporting many openly gay female players while doing so.
While it’s still possible to count publicly gay male footballers on one hand, there are at least 100 publicly out female footballers. And experts believe this has more to do with the different atmospheres surrounding the two games than any particular trend towards homosexuality on the female football field.
Worryingly, this discrepancy brings to light one of the biggest ongoing taboos in male football – the fact that there are currently no openly gay Premier League male footballers. Though there are predictions that the openness of female football might change that, there are still countless obstacles standing in the way for our ball-loving males. Keep on reading to find out why.
Why are more female footballers openly gay?
It’s clear that there are more openly gay female footballers. What’s less clear is why that’s the case. After all, it would be lazy and incorrect to assume that female football simply attracts more homosexuality. Rather, professionals like Stonewall FC’s manager, Eric Najib believe that female football is simply more ‘family-orientated,’ while there’s still a lot of ‘tribalism attached’ to the male game, in terms of ‘laddish’ fans and between-club rivalries. Dr Stefan Lawrence, an expert in masculinity in sport, believes that these laddish cultures ‘…play a part in preventing male players sticking their head above the parapet.’
Are there any openly gay male footballers?
There are openly gay male footballers, though the numbers are low, especially when you get to the higher tiers. At the moment, the highest-ranked openly gay male player is Jake Daniels, who came out last year. Daniels has blazed a trail for a further four lower league male footballers to come out, but in the Premier League, as it stands, openly gay players are lagging behind, having all come out after their stint in England’s top tier, including Thomas Hitzselperger and Justin Fashanau.
Could the current popularity of female football help?
Conversations like these are finally happening as a direct result of discrepancies between female and male teams, particularly after 2022’s World Cup in Muslim Qatar, as opposed to the recent Women’s world cup in liberal New Zealand. However, with players like Daniels setting a great example in light of the women’s openness, and with the 2026 male World Cup set to play in the most liberal American states, things certainly look set to improve. Speaking of a timeframe for when he imagined openly gay Premier League footballers could spread the same joy as female LGBTQ+ footballers, Daniels said ‘I really hope it happens in the next 20 years.’ And, if the current rate of change is anything to go by, it looks like that might well end up being the case.