Coming out in the world of football
04 June 2021
Unfortunately, the football world is not yet a safe environment where homosexuality is fully accepted. It is therefore important that players, officials and administrators take the lead in making homosexuality discussable and promoting ‘outing’. In doing so, they can contribute to inclusion and equality between people.
Few players, trainers or officials have come out as homosexual so far. This has a lot to do with the fear of hostile reactions and hate speech. On the other hand, it is crucial that there are role models who pave the way for others and can give young people who are gay the confidence to take a full place in our society, including in the world of soccer.
It is therefore commendable that Kevin Bodde, active since last November as an assistant referee in the Eredivisie (First division in the Netherlands), and in everyday life a police officer, has recently openly expressed himself as being homosexual. In interviews, he tells how difficult it was for him to come out, especially during his childhood:
“In the place where I thought I did not have to be afraid of my homosexuality (at home), I had to be afraid. And in the place where I thought I did need to be afraid (the outside world), it turned out that I didn’t need to be afraid at all.”
The reactions to his coming out in the football world and beyond were generally very positive. Kevin is also active for the John Blankenstein Foundation, an organisation that works for the acceptance of homosexuality in sports. John Blankenstein passed away in 2006 at the age of 57.