Thomas Beattie has explained the “volatile” nature of football prevented him from coming out as gay during his time as a professional.
Last week, the former Hull City youth player became just the second British male professional footballer to come out.
Beattie follows compatriot Justin Fashanu plus Thomas Hitzlsperger and Robbie Rogers as players who have played professionally in Britain in confirming their homosexuality having enjoyed a professional career of over 10 years in the USA, Canada and Singapore.
Upon announcing the news, the 33-year-old, from Goole in East Yorkshire, admitted he would not have felt comfortable taking that decision during his playing days.
And speaking to Lorraine on ITV on Thursday morning, he said: “Football is a very volatile sport. Not knowing the reception you’re going to get from different environments can be difficult
“But I was on a journey of acceptance so I was never fully at the point of accepting it, being in that environment probably made it difficult to comprehend it.
“Now I’m more content with that so it was the right time for me.”
Beattie admits the reception he has received has been positive – but there is still plenty of work to do in football.
“You’d like to think things are progressing but there is a lot that needs to be done, inside and outside of sport,” he added.
“The policies of anti-homophobia need to be clear, it’s still blurry and a taboo; and almost exonerates people from talking about it
“From the reception I’ve had I think maybe I could have done it much sooner but hindsight is a great thing.”
Beattie also offered advice to fellow professional footballers who are considering coming out.
He added: “I would never encourage anyone to do it if they’re not ready, it’s everyone’s own time and personal journey but it’s important to have one person at least to lean on.
“Dealing with it yourself is very difficult, so find one person you can share things with.
“I had a few people who helped me along the journey, there are always people in a similar scenario so finding someone you can lean on is definitely beneficial.
“It’s fairly liberating but I’ve been quite overwhelmed by it, I’m not used to speaking about it, but I’m glad the journey has led me here.
“We’ve had some great conversations with the PFA and so within sport and outside sport it’s been a small ripple effect
“I’ve been given confidence by the progress that has been made this week.”
Beattie, who established himself in the reserves at Hull but failed to break into the first team, played for Forest City London, London City, Ottawa Fury, Hougang United and Warriors professionally as an attacking midfielder.