Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema has said that a top male player coming out as gay would enable others to follow, and help tackle football's homophobia issue.


Homophobia has been a stain on the men's game for years, with no male player coming out while playing professional football in England. 


Former West Ham midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger spoke out about his sexuality after hanging up his boots, while former Leeds winger Robbie Rogers came out during a break in his career, and returned to play in the United States.

Thomas Hitzlsperger

The landscape is vastly different in the women's game, where there are a number of openly gay female footballers – including Miedema herself, who is in a relationship with Arsenal teammate Lisa Evans. 


Speaking to ​BBC Sport, Miedema said: "If someone was to come out and that player is fully respected, it would be easy for a lot of other boys to come out as well. I think you should do what you want and let people do whatever they feel good with.

Arsenal Women v Manchester City Women: FA WSL

"For me personally, I don't get why it is still an issue, especially in football because we all share the same passion."


In December, the Rainbow Laces campaign garnered support like never before, with all team captains wearing rainbow armbands, and many stadiums decked out in rainbow decor.


However, during Brighton's recent visit to West Ham, two West Ham fans were ​arrested for allegedly making homophobic gestures

​A Twitter account claiming to be a gay Championship footballer attracted huge attention, hysteria and speculation over the summer, before the account was closed as the 'player' opted not to come out.


Miedema insisted a player's sexuality should not matter, and individuals should simply be judged as footballers. 


"Why does it change the player if he is gay or not?" Miedema added. "Why does it change the player if he or she is from Holland, from Africa, from Australia? We are all the same so why can't we just accept how we are and who we are and go from there? Just enjoy football and enjoy life, that is how easy it is for me anyway."