Scottish pro Zander Murray inspires fellow footballer to come out as gay to teammates

Zander Murray

Zander Murray has shared a moving message he received from a fan after he became the first-ever senior Scottish pro-footballer to come out as gay.

The 30-year-old Gala Fairydean Rovers player opened up about his sexuality in an interview with his club’s official website on 16 September 2022, explaining “the weight of the world is now off my shoulders”.

Murray has since become an inspiration for other footballers to come out, with one fan messaging him saying it “felt amazing” when they told their teammates.

The message, which Murray shared on Twitter, read: “I just wanted to tell you that you’ve been a massive inspiration for me to come out to teammates and family.

“As a young footballer I find it difficult to be myself as it is but being gay and keeping it secret was so challenging… It felt amazing when I told my teammates, they were super supportive.”

Murray commented: “Makes it all worthwhile young man”.

Despite explaining the reaction to his coming out was “incredible”, Zander Murray described in a previous interview that he had been “living in fear 24/7” before coming out publicly.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Murray said: “You’re living in fear 24/7, I can’t explain it.

“You’re hiding your phone in case you get messages from friends, constantly double-checking if you have a team night out, you’re cautious with what you’re saying.

“It’s very hard, especially for myself, I’m a character in that dressing room. I’m not quiet in that dressing room, I like to have the banter and to get stuck in, so very challenging.”

But he said the support he’d received since coming out had been “incredible” and added he couldn’t have done it “at a better time at a better club”.

Support also came from Olympic gold medal winner Tom Daley, who texted Murray after coming out.

He said during an interview with Lorraine Kelly: “He messaged me while I was on my way back from football training in a car with four boys.

“I had tears in my eyes seeing his direct message, and I messaged him back.

“I said, ‘Look I am in a car on the way back from football with four boys and I’ve got tears in my eyes and I don’t even care.'”

‘Overwhelmed, empowered, inspired’

Zander Murray is the first senior Scottish player to come out, following a few other high-profile footballers in recent months, with Jake Daniels becoming the first UK pro-footballer to come out in more than 30 years.

Justin Fashanu was famously the first professional football player in the UK to come out publicly in 1990.

His life was tragically cut short less than eight years later when – after being hounded by the racist and homophobic press – he died by suicide.

Despite the dark history of homophobia in sport, the positive reaction to Murray’s coming out has left him feeling “overwhelmed, empowered, inspired”.

“If I could inspire one person then it’s done its job,” he said.