A new gay football league is changing the straight guy’s sport in Brazil

Douglas Braga left his home in rural southeastern Brazil when he was 12, moving to Rio de Janeiro to pursue the Brazilian dream and become a professional football player.

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Douglas Braga turned professional at the age of 16, and when he was 18 years old he signed as goalie by Botafogo.

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Three years later, in between contracts, Braga spent some time away from the game. And he met someone — his first boyfriend.

“Playing football, I didn’t really know or accept that I was gay, even to myself,” he said to washingtonpost.com.

When his agent contacted him to talk about new contract options, he decided that now that he was openly gay, he couldn’t return to professional football.

“It didn’t even cross my mind to play football professionally and be openly gay,” Braga said. “You really just can’t.”

After coming out, Braga didn’t play football for 10 years.

Then he heard about LiGay, an LGBTQ football movement that has spread throughout Brazil since it started this year. He participated in the group’s first official tournament, the Champions LiGay, in November.

“I got on the field and was nearly in tears. It was like a time machine,” Braga said. “I was mixing two parts of my life I never, ever thought could mix.”

This must be something, we in Europe can create too.

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