As a child, my brother used to give me goalkeeping training in the garden. Afterwards he told our trainer that I was quite good at it and so I started playing in goal when I was around 7 years old. Nowadays, I play in the second national league, and although I was very ambitious in my youth, I believe this is the highest within my reach.
I don’t know if I would have been brave enough to come out first in the team.
In my teenager years, I attained a small school and was one of the popular girls. I never really had problems with my sexuality. I thought being gay was some kind of special quality, something that gave me more attention. I was different and because I dealt with it in a normal way, my classmates found it even cooler.
Around the same time, a boy came out of the closet too. We had the same friends, but strangely enough he was bullied and I wasn’t. I don’t know why, maybe because he was a boy? The boys thought I was super cool, but thought the other boy was a “janet*.” (*fagot)
My soccer team knew it pretty quickly. I had a girlfriend in the squad, so it was quite obvious. Besides, I wasn’t alone; there were more lesbian girls in soccer. That was also the case during a soccer camp, where there were often intrigues among the girls. For about 40 lesbian girls together, that sometimes resulted in some hassles. But all jokes aside, it was certainly okay to be ‘out’ and maybe that’s what helped me coming out.
I’m sure that it is easier to come out as a girl in a soccer team than, for example, in a gymnastics team. I’ve always played with older girls, so I always had examples. I’ve always perceived lesbian girls as something normal. This played a big role, because I don’t know if I would have been brave enough to come out first in the team.
Yes, I measure up to the stereotype of the lesbian girl who plays soccer, but I’ve no problem at all with that. Occasionally someone asks me if I would change my sexuality if I could, but my answer is always no. It’s part of my identity and I love to be different in all aspects. I’m also confident enough to out myself immediately in any group and on any occasion.
You don’t need to pretend to be someone else, and certainly not in a soccer team. I’ve never really experienced negative reactions within the squad. Though, sometimes, there were some girls who looked down on me or childishly threw shades when they knew I was a lesbian. But the funny thing is that, so many years later, they have a girlfriend as well. Maybe they acted that way because they where doubting themselves, I don’t know.
I have noticed that how you deal with your sexuality, determines how others will judge you. That depends on your personality, of course. I was very open about everything and as a result I was open about me liking girls. I don’t feel easily offended. I laugh when jokes are being made and even make silly jokes myself. That’s probably why I’ve never really had any negative experiences. If I had been a rather shy person, it wouldn’t have gone so smoothly.
For example, I know a girl who doubts her sexuality. She’s a rather closed person and has little self-esteem. I would like to tell her that she shouldn’t be afraid of the reactions. Often you assume that people will think differently of you while that’s not the case at all. You’re not supposed to see your sexuality as a bad thing or as something that holds you back, but you should see it as something you identify with. That girl is super shy, but if she would come out, she might be more confident and feel better in her own skin. You only have to do certain things whenever you feel you’re ready, but you don’t need to pretend to be someone else, and certainly not in a soccer team.