Two professional soccer players are coming out publicly in a New York Times article that profiles their move from Mexico to Iceland, where LGBT athletes are more accepted. Bianca Sierra and Stephany Mayor talk about their experiences in both Central America and the North Atlantic as they search for — and find — public acceptance as lesbian athletes.

How bad was it in Mexico? They had a coach who forced them into the closet and fans who routinely rejected their very existence.

In Mexico, they said, they faced a powerful coach who ordered them to hide their relationship from the public, and a culture in which fans routinely shouted a homophobic chant at matches. When Sierra and Mayor did finally come out last summer, by posting photos on social media professing their love, they were subjected to vicious online harassment.

The couple certainly now hold a place in history, opening conversation not in the gay-friendly island-nation of Iceland but back home in Mexico, where anti-gay slurs are the choice chant of so many soccer fans. Vilchis writes:

Mayor, a striker, and Sierra, a fullback, both 25, are believed to be the first openly gay professional athletes in Mexico’s history, and they are certainly the first players from one of Mexico’s national soccer teams to speak openly about their sexual orientation.

We are so proud of Mayor and Sierra for opening their lives to all of us, and opening a conversation in Mexican soccer, where said conversation is so very necessary.

Be sure to read the entire New York Times piece to understand what it’s like to be an LGBT professional soccer player in Iceland… and Mexico.