Australian football player Andy Brennan has come out as gay in a message posted to social media.
Brennan, a 26-year-old who plays as a forward in the Green Gully team in the National Premier Leagues Victoria, posted a picture of himself smiling on the football field on Instagram on Tuesday (May 14).
In the caption, he wrote: “It’s taken me years to get comfortable saying this – I’m gay. I was scared it would affect my friendships, my teammates, and my family.
“It’s something I’ve been wanting to share with people who may be going through the same thing.”
— Andy Brennan
“But the support of the people around me has been so great and helped me get to the final step; being completely open. Being open is the best way for me to feel most comfortable and be myself. So… carry on!”
He said: “I’ve been carrying this burden with me for so long about being gay and now I’ve come to the realisation that I can be open with it, speak to people about it and it’s ok. It’s something I’ve been wanting to share with people who may be going through the same thing.”
Sharing the clip, Brennan also said the reactions he received so far have been positive and supportive.
He wrote: “It’s been tough to talk about this, but I couldn’t be happier with how people have reacted to the news. I always wanted it to be on my terms and in my words and I can’t thank everyone enough for the support.”
Andy Brennan receives messages of support after coming out as gay
Dozens of people reacted to his Instagram posts with positive messages to the football player.
One person wrote: “Thank you for your courage Andy! This means so much to gay footballers and supporters, you’re a shining light in the professional men’s game. We salute you!”
Another one reacted: “What a legend! This will help so many more young kids struggling with the truth of their life. You deserve only the best mate.”
Fellow football player and former teammate Nigel Boogaard wrote: “Proud of you mate. You are a great person and an amazing role model.”
The athlete is the first male football player in the country to come out as gay.
His coming out happens at a significant time as the controversy over rugby player Israel Folau’s anti-LGBT posts continues to engulf Australian sports while, in politics, the ruling Liberal party reckons with its anti-LGBT candidates ahead of the federal election on May 18.