Top Norwegian Soccer Ref Tom Harald Hagen Comes Out

Thursday October 29, 2020

Tom Harald Hagen
Tom Harald Hagen  (Source:Screencap / Fotballfredag / YouTube)

Top Norwegian soccer referee Tom Harald Hagen came out in an interview following a game in which a player hurled an anti-LGBTQ epithet at the opposition's coach, media sources report.

The news was celebrated at FIFA.com, which sketched in Hagen's career.

"Hagen is a former FIFA referee, who officiated at the international level, particularly in European competitions and FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and is currently active in the Norwegian league," the site noted.

Hagen made the revelation in an interview with Norwegian newspaper Glomdalen.

"For me, it has always been a completely natural part of life," Hagen told the publication, according to Time24.news. "You ask me if I've been thinking about this for a while, but I have not. I have been with girls and have not announced it to anyone. The same has been natural when I had a male partner."

Hagen did intimate that his current comfort with his authentic self was arrived at through a process. He told Glomdalen that, "I have gradually become confident in myself, and my life is very good," reports Norwegian news site VG.

But now, Hagen went on to say, being gay is just another part of "my everyday life, my relationship, my family - and my football family."

Hagen called it "the height of irony" that he had been refereeing at the match where a player directed an anti-gay slur at the other team's coach, Flemish newspaper Niewsblad reported. "Maybe he said it on a whim," Hagen added; "that can happen in football. But we have to get rid of homophobia in sports," he said.

The news quickly spread globally, as Hagen has an international reputation as a top soccer referee.

Hagen spoke to how his coming out had generated an international sensation, saying, "It is a bit special because it should not be like that, but now I have judged internationally for several years at the top European level, so it is only to be expected that there is an interest," reported Time24.news.

Hagen went on to say that he's received only messages of support following his coming out.

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