I HAVE the utmost respect and admiration for Jake Daniels, the 17-year-old Blackpool striker, who has come out as gay after becoming, in his words “tired of living a lie”.

He and other young sports personalities (the Olympic medallist, Tom Daley, for one) who come out, will do far more to stamp out homophobia in sports (particularly football) than any amount of pontificating by the bodies that run sports.

As someone who was forced to spend the first 27 years of my life ‘living a lie’ – until homosexuality was decriminalised (but even then only in private) in 1967.

But changing the law doesn’t change public attitudes, and it would be many years before gay people could hold hands or display affection for each other in public without attracting at best, negative comments and at worst physical violence.

And sadly, almost 60 years on – homophobia still blights our society to some extent.

But I do find it heartening that it is on the retreat and that changes in attitudes are giving young sportsmen and women the confidence to be themselves and say to the world ‘I am who I am!’


Norwich Avenue West, Bournemouth