Before Andy Brennan sent the message that changed so much in his life, he coated peanut butter on toast. He sat down on the couch and put the plate next to him. Then he describes it, he took the smartphone in his hand – and published a text that he had prepared weeks before. "I'm gay," was now on his Instagram profile as follows: "I want to be completely open." The news spread quickly. For Australians 26, football is a pro – and homosexuality in football is still a taboo subject.
When Brennan remembers the afternoon of May, four months apart, he thinks he's nervous, scared, and expecting the worst. What has happened since? "It's great," said Brennan during the telephone conversation. "My life is better now."
Striker Brennan is under contract with Green Gully second division football club in Melbourne. He had already played in the first Australian league, but injuries made him lose. In Australia, Brennan is the first football player to have publicized his gay status. In addition, very few football professionals in the world have made public appearances. Former German national player Thomas Hitzlsperger is the most famous of them, although he only spoke about it after his retirement. Many gay footballers prefer not to talk about their sexuality. Uncertainty about the reaction of teammates, opponents, spectators and sponsors to the news is still too great.
Brennan wants to tell his story himself
Brennan, who recently started studying psychology, did not even want to accept that he was gay for a long time. Also because in football counts harshness and in the locker room is always a stupid saying. He repressed his feelings. "I thought I should have stopped playing football otherwise," he says. But as he became more and more clear about his sexuality over the past year, he realized that he did not want to hide it anymore. He talked to his family, his friends and finally his teammates. "From there, it was clear that I will make it public," said Brennan: "I wanted to be the one who tells the story and does not let others tell my story."
He has never regretted this step. "There was not a single negative reaction from my team, from another team or from a spectator," he said. Instead, sometimes after a game of opponents, they hugged him and shouted, "Well done." Teammates come out, sometimes teasing him, for example, if he misses the goal at workout. "It's great, because that's what makes it normal," says Brennan. He has received more than a thousand messages from around the world over the past few weeks. Almost all Australian newspapers have announced its release, but also the US media, English, Spanish and German. "I did not expect that," Brennan admits. The most important thing for the footballer is: "I can finally be me, and it seems overwhelming."