World’s only openly gay active pro footballer is concerned for LGBTQ community ahead of Qatar 2022 tournament
“I am not gay, I am just as straight as they come.” – Joe Marler
A Qatari teenager who was sent to stay at a hotel with a man because he was an LGBT activist – because it was his way of dealing with feelings of depression and depression – died early this morning.
Joe Marler was just 16 when he died on Christmas Eve this year at the age of 16 years old.
Marler is credited with a huge contribution to Qatar’s bid for a 2022 World Cup, becoming one of the youngest players to feature in an official Qatar World Cup qualifier in the country.
However, Marler came out in October 2017 – having felt suicidal – as an openly gay, professional footballer, which is why he was sent to stay at the hotel by an LGBT rights activist. Although he was initially reluctant regarding his sexuality, he started to open up about it after attending an LGBTQ+ event.
After his stay at the hotel, Marler made it clear to everyone that he was “just as straight as they came”.
In a moving statement sent to PinkNews, Joe explained his journey: “I am not gay, I am just as straight as they come. I will continue to represent the LGBTQ community in the same vein as it is my duty as a professional.
“I am not doing it for anybody but me. I am not doing it for money, I am doing it for the greater good.
“When I was 16, I felt like I was going nowhere with my life and was going to end up in jail for a crime I didn’t commit. I started having thoughts of suicide, especially when I couldn’t sleep. It’s something I’ve been struggling with for a long time and after months of thoughts of death, I decided to seek help for myself.
“I attended a support group for young men in my city and one of the group leaders suggested I see a counsellor. They suggested I seek help from someone who could provide me with a platform to talk about my situation and how I was feeling.
“I was very hesitant and decided not to tell anyone at first but after much heartache and frustration, I decided to come out to my family and friends. As I spoke with my family, friends and other team-mates, I found out I was gay. It