Former Premier League star Thomas Hitzlsperger said he has "never been ashamed of the way I am" after he revealed that he is gay.
He told Zeit magazine: "I'm coming out about my homosexuality because I want to move the discussion about homosexuality among professional sportspeople forwards."
"I've never been ashamed of the way I am," he added.
Hitzlsperger also admitted that it has not always been easy living with some of the comments made on the subject, he said: "Just picture 20 men sat around a table together drinking.
"You've just got to let the majority be, just as long as the jokes are halfway funny and the talk about homosexuality doesn't get too insulting. In England, Germany or Italy, homosexuality is not taken seriously as an issue, at least not in the dressing room."