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Pro athlete, Marco Lehmann, didn’t find true happiness until coming out

 

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This profile is part of Queerty’s 2021 Out For Good series, recognizing public figures who’ve had the courage to come out and make a difference in the past year, in celebration of National Coming Out Day on October 11.

Name: Marco Lehmann, 27

Bio: Marco Lehmann is a professional basketball player playing for the 3×3 Team in Switzerland.

Coming Out: If there is one thing we know about Lehmann, it’s that he’s not one to wait around, and we love him for that. In January 2021, Lehmann wrote an article for Fiba, proudly announcing “My name is Marco Lehmann. I’m a 27-year-old professional 3×3 basketball player and I decided I would not wait till I retire to announce that I’m gay.” Well, there you have it.

 

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In the article, Lehmann writes about how he was living a double life. As a professional athlete, he appeared to be living the life – he was playing ball, traveling the world, and making his way up the ranks in the sports world.

And yet, he was utterly unhappy. “I had been switching personalities for so long now that it was affecting my mental health,” he wrote. “Every week the same old thing: my boyfriend would drive me to the airport and the minute I would go through security, the happy gay man in a relationship turned into the emotionless pro athlete, who didn’t want to talk about his personal life.”

By December 2019, Lehmann was having “emotional outbursts” and that, combined with the pandemic, made him feel even more isolated and like he needed to hide who he was even more. There was also the fear of the “coaches, managers and teams that offer you contracts… [that they may not offer you] a new contract because of your sexual orientation.”

 

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Everything came to a head when Lehmann was invited to a gala that had big names on the guest list, including the Sports Minister. Lehmann considered bringing his boyfriend as his plus one but ultimately backed out because he was afraid his sexuality would make headlines. So he went alone.

Writes Lehmann toward the end of his story, “All these situations. All the sleepless nights. All the moments of fear and self-doubt have led to this. The time has come for me to enjoy the rest of my career without having to live a double life or hide my true self.”

Chosen Family: Lehmann now lives as an openly gay athlete, paving the way for many others in sports to live openly and without fear. Since coming out, Lehmann has been a champion of LGBTQIA+ rights in Switzerland, which up until September 2021, was one of the last countries in Western Europe to legalize gay marriage.

 

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Now, when are we going to see photos of his boyfriend?!

 

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