Out soccer stud, occasional model and author Robbie Rogers will appear on the cover of Attitude‘s April issue as “Football’s First Gay Superstar”, a title he earned after abandoning his intolerant UK team and signing with the LA Galaxy last May.
Along with Jason Collins and Michael Sam, Rogers is inspiring a new attitude toward LGBT players in major league sports, but he revealed his journey to self-acceptance wasn’t entirely smooth in the accompanying 14-page article. He says struggling with his own mental health was one of the motivating factors that caused his premature retirement last year.
“25 years of self-hate doesn’t go away just because you come out,” he says:
Definitely in my career there were so many times when I struggled with my mental health. That affected the way I played.
For younger people that are closeted and they see that it’s illegal to be gay in Qatar, then they know that the World Cup’s going to be there and maybe they’re football fans? That’s so damaging on their psyche, on their mental health.
My thing was that I was done and I was going to [come out] on my own terms, away from a football club. I was going to take some time to myself and no-one was going to try and persuade me to do that while I was back in football and no-one was going to persuade me to do it in any other way.
The feature will also include eight exclusive photos as part of The Style Issue. The print magazine will hit shelves on March 5, but you can download a digital version today.