Zander Murray has made history as the first Scottish senior football player to come out as gay.
On 17 September, the Gala Fairydean Rover striker opened up about his coming out journey in a heartfelt statement via the club’s website.
“First, it feels like the weight of the world is now off my shoulders. The reason I have decided to do this now is twofold. Firstly I was on holiday recently at a Pride event, and I have always been that closeted [that I] never to go to these things, but I loved it,” he revealed.
“The vibe was brilliant, and everyone was just being free and happy, and it was great to just be me.”
However, when it came time to post pictures on social media, he declined to be tagged in photos due to fears of his sexuality being outed.
But after hiding his identity for years, Murray realised it was “playing havoc” with his life.
“So at that moment, I thought enough is enough. I put a post on my social media telling folk I was gay,” he explained.
Fortunately for Murray, his Gala Fairydean Rover teammates have been nothing but supportive of his identity.
“I have a really strong bond with everyone at the club, and I have been blown away by the support,” he said. “Before coming out, you think people will turn against you, and you think the worst. It’s been lovely how much support I have had.”
He then expressed his hopes to help other young gay athletes come out before praising Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels and Scottish referees Craig Napier and Lloyd Wilson for doing the same.
May aswell begin my twitter account with the simple message:
– Thank you to those before me, who had the courage 🌈❤️
– Want to continue the good work and here for the long run.
— Zander Murray (@ZanderMurray) September 16, 2022
“It can be difficult, and you can feel very alone. I knew I was different for many years, but with other people in the game coming out, it’s been amazing.
“Hopefully the SFA can work with other leagues and partners and look at support and drive how we help other players.”
Shortly after Murray’s coming out announcement, football fans flocked to social media to show support for the young talent.
One fan wrote: “I wish Zander Murray nothing but happiness, and I’m already so so sorry for the cesspit that is Scottish football.”
Another fan tweeted: “This is fantastic to see. Well done Zander Murray.”
Gala Fairydean Rover’s chairperson Ryan Cass also praised the player in his own statement.
“Everyone at the club is fully supportive of Zander, and we are delighted for him that he feels comfortable to come out,” he said.
“Zander has shown great bravery, and he has the club’s full support, and I am certain that he will get the support he deserves from all across the football family in Scotland.”
While Murray is the first Scottish senior footballer to come out as gay, he isn’t the first openly gay player in the Scottish leagues.
The legendary Justin Fashanu, who made history as the first English footballer to come out, played for Airdrie and Hearts in the mid-1990s.
Congratulations are in order for Zander Murray!