South African footballer Beale says gay community has grown

World’s only openly gay active pro footballer is concerned for LGBTQ community ahead of Qatar 2022

The only openly gay active pro footballer in the world has sent a plea for help to the Qatari government ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Kurtley Beale is a member of South Africa’s team for the 2022 World Cup, but his sexuality is well known – he told the BBC yesterday that people at South Africa’s leading football academy, SuperSport, had tried to “tame” him over his sexuality.

The 37-year-old, who signed with Tottenham Hotspur in 2010, revealed he had been living a “double life” for several years.

“You see a gay person in a crowd but I’m not like that. I’ve got a girlfriend. It’s hard, I mean, a lot of people try to try to control me, but it’s my life,” he said.

“It’s just one of those things. I know some people would love to see me get in trouble for my sexuality. I’m trying to be strong for my club, for people that believe in me and what I’ve achieved in my life, especially here in South Africa.

“It’s hard when you see a lot of things going on, but it’s all about the team.”

Beale – who won an Under-17 World Cup with South Africa – is a proud gay South African and said he was confident that the country had moved on from its homophobic past.

“I’m not going to be judged because I’m gay, and I’m proud I’m gay,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of progress but you’re still going to be judged and you need that pressure on things.

“I think the gay community has grown, if you speak to people in the community there’s nothing wrong with being gay.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, gay, straight, young, old, gay, straight or whatever,” he said. “They just treat you how they want to be treated.

“I’d like to believe in things that are good for the gay community and for the black community in South Africa. We have so many friends over here, we just need more support.”

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