"Professional sports players shouldn’t feel pressured to come out"

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"Professional sports players shouldn’t feel pressured to come out"

Former Australian Bobsledder Simon Dunn raises awareness on the stigma gay men still suffer from among the sport community.

"Professional sports players shouldn’t feel pressured to come out". That’s the call from Rugby player and former Australian Bobsledder Simon Dunn.

Currently, there are no professional footballers in the Premier League who have come out as gay. Simon says there is still homophobia within the sporting world and coming out could put sports player’s careers in at risk.

He says: “Everybody's coming out is personal and in their own time. It is selfish for our community to expect someone to do it because of their public profile. Given the sporting culture, coming out could seriously affect their career. I myself was already out when I joined the Australian team, but from my own experiences I can understand why someone wouldn't come out, let alone someone earning and risking millions of pounds.“

Simon is from Wollongong on Australia’s east coast. He grew up playing Rugby League, but felt he had to leave the sport because of the stigma attached as a gay man playing sport. It wasn’t until he played for the Sydney Convicts, the city’s gay rugby union team, that he once again felt comfortable in coming back into sport.

“I wasn't exactly welcome within my team growing up. Its not the easiest road to take. And also growing up I'd learnt to believe gay men have no place in the sporting world and it took me a very long time to dispel those beliefs.”

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