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A Swiss basketball player has come out as gay. Marco Lehmann wrote an essay for Fiba3x3.
Lehman, 27, plays for Team Lausanne and has also helped lead Switzerland to two FIBA 3×3 Europe Cup appearances (3 x 3 is a form of the game played three a side on one basketball hoop). He was the top scorer in the Switzerland basketball league at the end of the 2016-2017 season. He originally comes from Kloten, a small city outside Zurich.
In the article, he says, that his family, friends, and teammates have known of his sexuality for a while, but he’s not spoken about it publicly.
“I probably could have kept it a secret until the twilight of my professional career. But I decided otherwise.”
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He says that by the end of 2019, after touring the world and playing in locations such as Sydney, Los Angeles, Montreal, Tokyo, his mental wellbeing was suffering.
“I had been switching personalities for so long now, that it was affecting my mental health. 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.”
He began to have panic attacks and started calling in sick and canceling appearances. This became easier during the COVID pandemic.
He says in his experience, there is sometimes still not a very welcoming atmosphere for many gay people on professional sports teams. He said he’d heard homophobic half-time speeches from coaches.
“What are you doing out there? Don’t play weak! You are playing like gays, like pu**ies! You have to go harder second half! Show them you are tough!”
Once, while returning home on a team bus after a match, he overheard a teammate slating gay people.
“For me, homosexuality is a sickness. They should kill themselves. Imagine you have to play with somebody like this on your team?!?”
Lehmann kept quiet, troubled by what he’d heard, and left wondering if he had a future in the sport.
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Now, he’s decided enough is enough. He wants everyone in the basketball field, and beyond, to know he is gay.
“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. And hopefully, help other gay athletes in Switzerland and worldwide. It changes nothing if, after a big win, a player hugs his girlfriend or his boyfriend.
“And as of today, I will be.
“I am Marco Lehmann, 3×3 Basketball player and gay.”
He also made a video, talking about his decision to go public.
In it, he said, “I’m really looking forward to the fact from this point on I won’t have to lead a double life anymore. That I will be able to live normally and put my main focus on basketball again.”
Yesterday, on Instagram, he posted a message thanking people for their support.
“Wow, I‘m totally overwhelmed by all the positive reactions and messages I received from all around the world!😍 Touched by your amazing feedback, I‘m looking forward to start into a completely free and unworried part of my career.”
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