The Lens

Czech, Please – Footballer Jakub Jankto Comes Out

There’s no greater freedom than being at play. The very word carries connotations of whimsy and wonder. We play games, we attend hit plays on Broadway, and some frisky folks engage in “play parties” to get better acquainted erogenously.

But some of us never get the chance to properly play.

Instead of focusing on making the world a better place, our elected officials have spent their political capital on preventing LGBTQ+ athletes from participating in various sports leagues. 18 states have banned trangender youth from joining teams that align with their true gender identity.

And professional sports are no field day either.

Going pro is an arduous obstacle course of barriers and broken dreams. Only the toughest, most agile participants will make it to the top, and queer people carry the extra anchor of stigmatization. Gay players are smeared as weak or ineffectual, so they may choose to stay in the closet rather than risk their rise to the big time.

But one midfielder recently held the line by not holding his tongue.

“I’m Jakub Jankto,” his revelatory video begins.

“Like everybody else, I have my strengths. I have my weaknesses. I have a family. I have my friends. I have a job which I have been doing it as best as I can, for years, with seriousness, professionalism and passion.”

Music swells on the soundtrack as our hearts swell in harmony.

Jakub continues, “Like everybody else, I also want to live my life in freedom. Without fears. Without prejudice. Without violence. But with love.”

Reaching a crescendo of compassion, Jakub Jankto makes sports history.

“I am homosexual and I no longer want to hide myself.”

It is a declaration as heartfelt as it is heartbreaking. Jakub simultaneously acknowledges the pain of oppression and the liberation of truth. He speaks for every gay kid who wants to try out, break out, and live OUT. Inclusion is a glorious goal, and he scored it for all of us.

Congratulations, Jakub. Play on.

Image: football-espana.net

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Kevin Perry

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