In a groundbreaking move that has reverberated across the world of sports, Czech Republic footballer Jakub Jankto recently made history by becoming the first current international male footballer to publicly come out as gay. The pivotal moment in Jankto’s life came with a 44-second video posted on a newly created Twitter feed in February. In an exclusive interview with The Pink Times, Jankto reflected on the overwhelming response he received.
The footballer spoke candidly about the pressure that came with his revelation, stating, “It’s not easy to be the first guy at my level who says: ‘Yeah, I’m gay.'” Despite the challenges, Jankto’s decision to come out is a significant step forward for LGBTQ+ representation in the world of professional football.
A Dream Achieved, a Leap of Faith Taken
Jankto’s journey from his native Prague to the professional football scene took him to Italy, where he signed his first top-flight contract with Serie A’s Udinese. His career continued with spells at Sampdoria and La Liga’s Getafe, earning him 45 caps for the Czech Republic, including appearances against England. The Czech Republic’s success at Euro 2020 marked a personal milestone for Jankto, but he aspired to achieve more.
Despite facing societal pressures and stigmas surrounding homosexuality in professional football, Jankto knew that he needed to be true to himself to continue growing as a player and a person. He decided to come out and share his story publicly, supported by his former partner and the football community.
A Message of Positivity and Acceptance
Reflecting on his decision, Jankto expressed his pride and relief in living authentically, stating, “I’m really happy that I can play without hiding or being scared.” While he has faced some social media abuse, he acknowledges the importance of his role as the first openly gay footballer in the top five leagues, emphasizing the need for more positive examples in the world of sports and beyond.
As Jakub Jankto embraces his newfound freedom and continues to pursue his football career, he serves as a beacon of hope and courage for others facing similar challenges. With his inspiring journey, he hopes to pave the way for more individuals to embrace their true selves, not only in football but in various aspects of life.