SOAP star Nathan Graham has opened up about his characters’s storyline, and says he hopes it will help footballers in real life.
The 28-year-old actor plays James Bailey in Coronation Street, and next week will see his character accidentally outed on social media.
Speaking about his latest storyline, Nathan told the Mirror: “I think it’s had a positive reaction so far. Nobody wants to be the first of this new generation, I guess that’s how anyone would feel.
“It’s a real shame that people don’t feel that they can come out, because I feel like we’ve moved on,” he continued.
“People are, I think, more accepting of everyone. Hopefully there is someone that’s a catalyst for more players to come out.”
The Corrie scenes come after a number of reports suggested that a player may be close to coming out as the first openly gay player in the Premier League.
In order to portray the situation properly, Nathan spent time on set with LGBT+ rugby league player Keegan Hirst.
As well as making sure his depiction of the character was accurate, Nathan also wanted to ask about what it is like coming out as a professional sportsman.
“It is important because it is clearly an issue as there is no one currently playing professional football who is openly gay,” Nathan explained.
“After talking to Keegan Hirst, I can see that in football, homophobia is not seen as being on the same level as racism so it is good to spark that conversation and then hopefully it will educate people that discrimination is discrimination no matter what it is; race, religion, sexuality.”
He added: “If a sportsperson is gay, it doesn’t take away from their ability and with any type of discrimination, until people are educated then nothing will change.”