Pro-footballer Zander Murray bravely comes out as gay – and explains perfectly why it’s necessary

Gala Fairydean Rovers footballer Zander Murray

Gala Fairydean Rovers striker Zander Murray has become the first-ever senior Scottish footballer to come out as gay.

Murray, 30, opened up about hiding his sexuality for years in an interview with his club’s official website.

He said: “Firstly it feels like the weight of the world is now off my shoulders.

“The reason I have decided to do this now is twofold, firstly I was on holiday recently at a Pride event and I have always been that closeted [that I] never to go to these things but I loved it.

“The vibe was brilliant and everyone was just being free and happy and it was great to just be me. I also want to help other players who are struggling with this as it isn’t easy for men, especially footballers to deal with.”


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Murray said his teammates have been “so supportive”, and added: “Before coming out you think people will turn against you and you think the worst. It’s been lovely how much support I have had.”

He said he hopes his brave decision can help other closeted Scottish players: “In recent years Jake Daniels has come out and then Craig Napier and Lloyd Wilson who are both referees have done the same.

“Of course there are gay footballers in our game and I have had lots of players get in touch saying they have read my post and they can’t believe how strong I am by doing this.”

Almost immediately after publicly sharing that he is gay, Murray began receiving criticism from some football fans.

One tweeted: “I don’t get why Zander Murray has to come out as gay. Why not continue to play football which he has done for years before. The vast majority of people don’t care what he is just score goals to help their team win.”

But Murray hit back on Twitter, setting out all the reasons it was vital for him to come out.

He wrote: “We are not the vast majority, gay male footballers in the UK need role models, majority are terrified to come out to friends/ family/ teammates (trust me, a few have reached out already!)

He continued: “To the younger generation, they can now see happy, thriving gay men in [and] around football.

“Eventually we will get to a place where this does not make news. I want to be part of the solution! Watch this space in the near future.”

In a statement addressing Murray’s coming out, Gala Fairydean Rovers chairperson Ryan Cass said: “Everyone at the club is fully supportive of Zander and we are delighted for him that he feels comfortable to come out.

“Zander has shown great bravery and he has the club’s full support and I am certain that he will get the support he deserves from all across the football family in Scotland.”

While Murray is the first senior Scottish player to come out, English footballer Justin Fashanu played for Airdrie and Hearts in the mid-1990s after he had already come out as gay.

Fashanu was the first British footballer to come out as gay, and after he was hounded by the press and bombarded with homophobia, the English player died by suicide.

AIDSmap executive director Matthew Hodson wrote on Twitter: “Justin Fashanu was Britain’s first openly gay footballer. He was beautiful and talented. I knew him (we had a brief thing).

“He was hounded by the press and crowds and took his life at 37.

“I love to see Zander Murray and Jake Daniels change the story for gay men in football.”