Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: by Samuel Schalch (@samuelschalch), provided by Marco Lehmann
Professional basketball player Marco Lehmann has told Attitude he plans to help other young sportspeople struggling with their sexualities since coming out as gay over the weekend.
The Team Lausanne 3x3 player declared "I'm not waiting until retirement to say I'm gay" in a moving essay for FIBA.basketball last Friday.
The 27-year-old, who represents Switzerland internationally, today told Attitude he is "overwhelmed" by the reaction to the news.
"I'm so happy I reached a lot of young sportsmen"
"I'm just totally overwhelmed from all the reactions around the world," Lehmann tells us.
"I really didn't expect that my story would go [so far]. I'm so happy that I reached a lot of young sportsmen and women who are in the same situation, same as a lot of other people. Now I will try to help them."
The star, who once cracked the top 15 basketball player world rankings, added: "Thanks a lot to the [LGBTQ] community out there. Can't wait to play the next season!"
"I hit rock bottom"
In his original essay, Marco said: "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.
"In December 2019, I hit rock bottom. I started to have emotional outbursts, tears, cold sweat running down my back. And for what?"
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He later added: "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. As of today, I will be."
The Attitude 101 February issue featuring 101 LGBTQ trailblazers is out now.