If you follow openly gay professional soccer player Anton Hysen on social media, you know his sense of humor is as strong as his soccer skills. If there’s somebody who could laugh off some foolish homophobic banter on the pitch, it’s Hysen.
Luckily he hasn’t had to.
Over five years since coming out publicly, Hysen told me that he has experienced virtually no homophobia playing soccer in Sweden and in the United States.
“I think I’ve only had one thing happen,” he said, “and that was a game one week after coming out. It was one voice who said ‘gay!’ in Swedish, and someone said ‘shut the fuck up and sit down’ directly after. None more than that.”
The person sticking up for Hysen at that match? An opposing fan who had no interest in hearing a fellow fan spew homophobia.
Hysen currently plays for Torslanda IK in League 4 in Sweden, but he said he would jump at the chance to also play again in the United States or the UK. In 2014 the openly gay athlete played for the Myrtle Beach Mutiny.
While he would love to advance to a higher level in soccer, he is also busy balancing his speaking engagements and some entertainment-business consulting. As the 2012 winner of Let’s Dance (Sweden’s version of Dancing With the Stars — in 2012 he became the first out gay winner of any DWTS show in the world), he has had a big entry into the entertainment world.
Hysen told me one of the projects he’s working on is writing a book. While he’s certainly talked about a lot of his experiences in soccer and Let’s Dance, he obviously hasn’t told us everything.
“I want to write a book about everything. The journey and the surroundings, situations people haven’t heard of.”
Like any good businessman, he obviously hasn’t given away all of his secrets for free. If he’s willing to be as revealing as he is on Instagram, that book will be a must-read.
For more recent updates on Hysen, check out an article The Mirror ran earlier this week.