I’m having a great time playing without concealing or being afraid – JAKUB JANKTO, the first current international player to publicly come out as gay, says


Jakub Jankto of the Czech Republic has said that he is’really glad’ that he can now play ‘without hiding or being terrified’ after being the first current international player to publicly come out as gay.

The 27-year-old, who signed a two-year contract with Cagliari in July, confirmed his sexuality in a social media post in February.

‘Like everyone else, I want to live my life in freedom, without fear, discrimination, or violence, but with love,’ he wrote. I am homosexual, and I no longer wish to remain hidden.’

The Czech footballer, who divorced his previous partner Marketa Ottomanska, with whom he has a son, in 2021, opened up about what it’s like to play today.

‘It was a huge moment for me, but six, seven months later, I can say it wasn’t a mistake,’ Jankto told the BBC.

‘If I could do it again, I definitely would, because it helped myself and I think it helped many, many people. It was a tremendous event for all footballers, and many professional footballers from various clubs wrote to me to express their gratitude.

‘I think it set a good, positive example for everyone, and now I’m incredibly delighted that I can play without hiding or being afraid. I just keep on as if nothing has happened, which is fantastic.’

‘Being homosexual was still considered as “not normal” when I got into professional football teams, and football is still a little bit homophobic, I suppose,’ he continued.

‘So I was worried when I was 18 or 19 and next to other guys and couldn’t read WhatsApp messages because I was always afraid that someone would see a message or a photo from a guy…’ Coming out, on the other hand, was exactly what I needed to do to get healthier.

‘I wasn’t the only one who thought: “Well look, Jakub, you are a professional footballer, but you have your life that you have to live like you want.” And that was crucial for me.’

He also acknowledged that becoming the first current international player to publicly come out as gay comes with some additional expectations.

‘When you get thousands, maybe millions, of messages from people expressing they appreciate and thank you, it makes me really happy,’ he added, adding that the people were great.

Jankto, who can play as a left back, midfielder, or winger, began his professional career with Udinese, where he made 69 appearances before joining rival Italian club Sampdoria in 2019.

In 45 games for the Czech Republic, he has four goals.


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