Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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Footballer Zander Murray receives ‘amazing’ messages of support after coming out as gay

Footballer Zander Murray says he has been overwhelmed by messages of support since becoming the first Scottish senior footballer to reveal his homosexuality.

The Gala Fairydean Rovers forward made the announcement last week, saying he has made the decision to help others who are struggling to open up.

It comes after Blackpool midfielder Jake Daniels came out in May as the first active professional player in Britain since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

Murray, 30, who is in his fourth season at the Lowland League club, said the past few days have been a whirlwind one and he feels “humbled” by people’s positive reaction.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “It was crazy, I’ll be honest.

“I didn’t expect the reach it has reached and how many people it has inspired and motivated and the lovely messages it has.

“The private messages from people and fans alike, people from other communities, from other sports, football players in the leagues, sending me support and asking for guidance and help.

“It fills my heart with so much joy and to sit here makes me so humbled. It is wonderful.’

In an interview with his club’s website last week, Murray said being open about his sexuality “feels like the weight of the world is off my shoulders now.”

Asked how big the barrier football is for him to speak openly about it, he told the BBC: “It’s been so challenging, mostly in my head, I’ll be brutally honest, I’ve just created so many problems with it.

“And obviously things have happened in the past that have concerned me and not having many role models growing up was a big challenge for me.”

He said it’s great to see other players speak openly about their sexuality, like Daniels and referees Craig Napier and Lloyd Wilson, who revealed their homosexuality in June, and Australian player Josh Cavallo.

Murray said he hopes he can act as a role model for other players too.

He said: “Those are tremendous role models for our game and for our younger generations, a young me, if I had that, you know, maybe things would have been different, but I never have.

“So I think it’s incredible to have these people and I hope that I can play a small part in it for the rest of my life, for the rest of my life, even if I stop playing football.”

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