Viki Schnaderbeck – An open letter (google translation)
A few weeks ago a gay footballer playing in the English Premier League wrote an open letter about keeping his sexuality a secret, which was published in the Daily Mirror and in the Sun, and it made big waves. One of the statements was: “The truth is I just don’t think football is ready yet for a player to come out. The game would need to make radical changes in order for me to feel able to make that step.”
And at this point I would like to speak up. I want to raise my voice. I’m not going to make a radical change, but I want to make a contribution and take responsibility. In order to be able to talk about homosexuality in an unbiased, liberated and free manner as a professional soccer player, it takes a lot of courage and, last but not least, overcoming. Although the wishful image of an emancipated, developed and tolerant society exists, reality is still strongly shaped by prejudices, taboos and heteronormative attitudes.
I made a conscious decision at the end of last year to make my relationship with my girlfriend public. I felt ready and wanted to finally put an end to the little lies. I wanted to live unrestricted and free and to be 100% myself. Was it difficult for me? Naturally. I’m in public and have a certain fan base. The media and fans will react to it – that was clear. However, not to what extent and in what form. But I became more and more aware that I have to make one single decision for myself: Do I want to live my life as freely and unrestrictedly as I want or do I want to live my life so that I can please heteronormative programmed people? The answer was clear and I felt ready: I want to publicly confess that I am a lesbian.
But one thing is important to mention at this point. Viktoria Schnaderbeck at the age of 20 or 25 would have acted differently. When I was 20 I would have told myself that it was just a phase. I would have lied and played something to many people around me. I still remember very well the day when I cried when my mom asked me “whether I had a girlfriend?” I burst into tears because I was ashamed, felt guilty, and simply couldn’t stand by my sexuality. It’s also important to mention that my parents never had a problem with my sexual orientation. It was just myself who had a problem, a big and deep one.
At the age of 25 I would have convinced myself that it is sufficient for my family and friends to know, but for my professional and extended environment to remain excluded. Today, at the age of 29, I don’t tell myself anything, but know that I like women. Today I know that sexual orientation is not important at all. That it doesn’t matter what gender I love. Much more important is that I love. I also believe that sexuality becomes important primarily through society.
That’s why I want to take on social responsibility. I want to contribute to a better, more tolerant and peaceful world. The more we talk about it, the sooner we create a framework where people no longer need to be ashamed. A framework in which taboos on the subject of sexuality are broken and stigmatized ways of thinking are discarded.
In the 21st century there must be no place for homophobia, racism, sexism or any other form of discrimination. Our planet – including the football stadium – should be a place for diversity, inclusion and fairness.
Football is football. And love is love.