Credit: Tadeáš Bednarz, CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED, via Wikimedia Commons

Jakub Jankto

Professional football player, currently playing for Cagliari Calcio in Serie A, 45-time Czech international

First active and openly homosexual international male football player

Who is he? What does he do?

Jakub Jankto, born in Prague on January 19, 1996, is a Czech professional footballer who currently plays for Cagliari Calcio in Serie A. A versatile player who can play as a full-back, left midfielder or left winger, Jakub has had an impressive career in various top leagues in Europe. He has been playing for the Czech national team since March 2017.

What is his experience of a life crisis? How did he overcome?

Jakub publicly announced his homosexuality in February 2023, becoming the first active and openly homosexual international male soccer player. This step drew widespread support. 

In his first match after coming out against arch-rivals Baník Ostrava, many feared homophobic reactions from the opposing fans. Nothing of the sort happened and the previously common homophobic chants against Sparta Prague have not been heard since.

Despite the challenges, Jakub is now at a positive point in his life and appreciates the acceptance and support he has received.

What is his inspiration?

“Many people are afraid to come out. Hopefully I was able to help them in this way so that it becomes normal for footballers to be gay.”

By coming out, Jakub hopes to help others and promote the normality of LGBTQ+ players in professional soccer. His courage and openness are inspiring and show his hope for a more inclusive sporting world.

What motivates him?

“People say I’m an unusual footballer, but that’s the way I am, I’m happy with myself and don’t need to change.”

What was a special moment in his life and what did he experience with his partner?

At his first match after coming out, when he was on loan from FC Getafe to Sparta Prague, Jakub received enormous encouragement from the fans. “It was wonderful. Everyone applauded me. For the first time in a long time, I played with a smile again.”

Jakub’s former partner was supportive of his courageous move to come out publicly about his homosexuality. She emphasized that it was only important that he was safe and happy.

Another special moment in Jankto’s life was his first goal for Cagliari Calcio, which not only represented a success for his team, but was also of great personal importance to him. This goal was more than just a contribution to the game; it was a symbolic act of liberation and happiness, showing how liberated Jakub feels by his openness.