Earlier this week, 17-year-old professional soccer player Jake Daniels came out as gay. It made him the first UK player to do so in over 30 years.
He was met with overwhelming support, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeting a congratulatory message. Representatives for Daniels’ soccer club, Blackpool FC, also said how proud of the player they were.
Now the wider town of Blackpool, in the north of England, has also shown its visible support.
Blackpool, on the northwest coast of Lancashire, is famed as a summertime coastal resort, primarily for blue-collar Brits (it has a slight Coney Island vibe). It offers a big Pleasure Beach with a massive rollercoaster and the iconic Blackpool Tower, built in 1894.
It announced it was lighting up the tower in alternating rainbow colors and orange light for the rest of this week. Tangerine is the official color of Blackpool FC’s players’ jerseys.
For the rest of this week, the iconic Blackpool Tower will be lit in tangerine alternated with rainbow colours to show respect and support to @BlackpoolFC’s Jake Daniels 🧡
On Monday, Jake became the UK’s first male professional footballer to come out publicly as gay since 1990 pic.twitter.com/XCjseTYUgA
— VisitBlackpool (@visitBlackpool) May 18, 2022
Daniels, who was born in the village of Bispham, just outside Blackpool, was touched by the amazing show of support and tweeted his thanks.
Anytime Jake 👊💚 https://t.co/KIfoe3iaX7
— The Blackpool Tower (@TheBplTower) May 19, 2022
LGBTQ sports fans are hoping Daniels’ decision to come out at the start of his career will prompt other professional soccer players to do so.
Other people to post messages of support to Daniels include Elton John, Matt Lucas, and Ian McKellen.
A courageous and game-changing statement. At seventeen, he has hopefully changed the face of football forever. Bravo 👏🏻 🚀 pic.twitter.com/XYloE10jc3
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) May 17, 2022
At 17, @Jake_Daniels11 represents a generation that rejects old-fashioned homophobia in football and elsewhere: those who haven’t yet grown up as he has. He sets an example. No wonder so many of us, gay and everyone else, admire & treasure him as a hero. What a goal he’s scored!
— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) May 17, 2022
It’s a landmark day in British LGBT history. Brilliant, brave @Jake_Daniels11 – a professional Championship footballer with @BlackpoolFC – has come out. Huge respect to you, Jake, and to your club and teammates for supporting you. ⚽️🏳️🌈
— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) May 16, 2022