Footballer Zander Murray shares responses to his coming out as gay: ‘I’m so humbled’

Photo of Zander Murray with a teammate's arm draped around him

Footballer Zander Murray said he has been “humbled” by support after he became Scotland’s first senior male player to come out as gay.

The 30-year-old Gala Fairydean Rovers player came out last week in an interview with his club’s official website.

Speaking with the BBC, the striker said the amount of supportive messages he has received since has been “crazy”.

“I didn’t anticipate the reach and how many people it’s inspired and motivated and the lovely messages,” he said.

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

“It fills my heart with so much joy, and to be sitting here I’m so humbled. It’s amazing.”

Murray explained in the interview with Gala Fairydean Rovers that he decided to come out after attending a “brilliant” Pride event on holiday which made him feel “free and happy”.

“The reason I have decided to do this now is two-fold, 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,” he said.

“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.”

Zander Murray explained that he spoke to his team after coming out online.

“I didn’t do the whole ‘everyone sit down, I’m gay’,” he told the BBC.

“I just said it’s out in the open, it’s exploded online, if you want to ask me about it, if you want advice or guidance – pick my brain about anything.

“However, you treat me the exact same. I want the same banter, the same fun and the same deep chats we have. Nothing changes.”

Murray added that while women’s football is “exemplary” at accepting LGBTQ+ players, men’s football still has a way to go.

In May, Blackpool FC’s Jake Daniels became Britain’s first top-flight male footballer to come out since Justin Fashanu paved the way in 1990.

Fashanu took his own life at aged 37 after receiving a barrage of homophobia and racism.

Murray said: “I went through the worst of it, so much so I’m so passionate about getting the word out there. I don’t want anyone to suffer like I did.

“Women’s football is exemplary – we need to aspire to get to that level where people are out and open and it’s not news.

“I think there has been so many pillars [like Jake Daniels] that we’re very close to getting there. That would mean the world to me when that happens.”