Jahmal Howlett-Mundle, a defender with Sheppey United Football Club in the United Kingdom, has just come out as bisexual. Prior to making the announcement publicly, the soccer pro shared his identity with his teammates—a moving moment which was caught on video.
"I think most people probably know this already, but I'm bisexual," he sys in the short clip. "I know within football there's sort of a stigma, but I'm still the same person... I love you guys, I really do." His words are met with applause and support from his teammates.
There has been a concerted effort to combat homophobia and biphobia in British sport and soccer specifically through campaigns like Rainbow Laces. However, here are still remarkably few athletes who are willing to come out as LGBTQ+ while still playing professionally, due to worries that it will negatively impact their careers, which makes Howlett-Mundle's openness all the more meaningful.
"Whatever anyone’s sexuality, you should not be treated any differently – I’m just as hungry as any other player to step onto the football pitch and give my all to win for our team and our supporters," he said in a statement on the team's website. "I always wished I had somebody that looked like me, that grew up where I grew up and played football to look up to when I was younger."
Sheppey United assistant manager Marcel Nimani added that Howlett-Mundle has the team's full support, saying: "Bravery acts like Jahmal’s play a massive part in normalising members of the LGBTQIA+ community within football. I believe these acts go a long way in supporting many struggling sports people."
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