Words: Alastair James; pictures: STV News
The Scottish footballer, Zander Murray, says he's "blown away" by the support he's had since coming out as gay last week.
On Friday (16 September) Murray, who plays for the Gala Fairydean Rovers publicly announced his sexuality. He told the club's website: "It feels like the weight of the world is now off my shoulders."
Speaking to BBC Scotland since then, Murray says the support he's received has been overwhelming.
❤️⚫️ Gala Fairydean Rovers striker Zander Murray has announced he is gay - making him the first Scottish senior player to do so.— Gala Fairydean Rovers (@fairydeanrovers) September 16, 2022
In an interview with the club, Murray said he wants to "help" other players who are struggling about opening up.https://t.co/SE0pZNixFh
"It's been crazy, I'll be honest. I didn't anticipate the reach and how many people it's inspired and motivated and the lovely messages. The private messages of people and fans alike, people from other communities, from other sports, football players in the leagues messaging me support, asking for guidance and help.
"It fills my heart with so much joy, and to be sitting here I'm so humbled. It's amazing," he's said.
Murray is the first openly gay player in the men's professional ranks in Scotland since Justin Fashanu with Airdrie and Hearts in the mid-1990s.
His coming out follows the referees Craig Napier and Lloyd Wilson in June, as well as footballer Jake Daniels in May.
Describing Daniels as a "pillar" of the LGBTQ community Murray said he was motivated to come out after he attended his first Pride while on holiday.
Murray has also said it has been "so challenging" for him.
"Mainly in my head, I'll be brutally honest. I've just created so many issues with it. And obviously with things that have happened in the past it's been preying on my mind and not having a lot of role models growing up, that was a huge challenge for me."
Murray told the club's website last week: "The lads at the club have been so supportive. I have a really strong bond with everyone at the club and I have been blown away by the support.
"Before coming out you think people will turn against you and you think the worst. It's been lovely how much support I have had."
The club's chairperson, Ryan Cass, said: "Everyone at the club is fully supportive of Zander and we are delighted for him that he feels comfortable to come out.
"Zander has shown great bravery and he has the club's full support and I am certain that he will get the support he deserves from all across the football family in Scotland."
The Attitude September/October issue is out now.