Lucas Krzikalla has long been the figurehead of SC DHfK Leipzig. He has been playing handball in this club for over ten years. Is a homegrown, darling of the public and committed to the next generation. Once he made the step into the Bundesliga with the DHfK and now he wants to go one step further personally. Lucas Krzikalla is a professional handball player and homosexual. He is now deliberately making his coming out public. He is the only team athlete in Germany’s professional leagues.
Family, friends and teammates at SC DHfK Leipzig already know. Handball professional Lucas Krzikalla is now sharing his coming out as a homosexual athlete with the public. In the “Sport in the East” documentary “Out of Cover” he speaks openly about his motives, fears, security and the people who supported him. And also about it: “It was the right step for me, I feel very, very comfortable with it. Maybe it will also encourage one or the other to deal with it more openly.”
Almost 200 games in the Bundesliga
Lucas Krzikalla is now playing his ninth Bundesliga season with SC DHfK. Here he matured from a young talent to a seasoned Bundesliga professional. The right winger has reached the top of handball – has already played almost 200 games and scored 500 goals in Germany’s top division.
From Grossenhain to Leipzig
Krzikalla grew up in Grossenhain near Dresden in the 1990s and discovered his passion for sports, especially handball, at an early age. He quickly draws attention to himself with his talent. In 2010, at the age of 16, he moved to Leipzig and switched to the boarding school of the Landessportgymnasium. There he is trained, academically and athletically. Lucas does his Abitur, becomes a Bundesliga professional and studies sports management at the University of Leipzig.
Krzikalla in action taking a shot on goal.
“Another one or two schnapps poured”
In his mid-20s, Lucas realizes he’s gay. He dabbled with women and found that he just felt better with men. He soon opens up to his brother Julian and his mother and wants to tell them about it.
During the conversation, I poured myself another schnapps or two to maybe find the courage.
Lucas Krzikalla |
hiding in public
They love him the way he is and are happy that he no longer hides his homosexuality and no longer pretends to them. His coming out among family and friends begins, but Lucas hides himself and his homosexuality from the team and the public. He prefers to approach women when he goes out with the team to keep up appearances.
How does homosexuality change your career?
There is actually a team spirit in Leipzig, but for Lucas professional sport and especially the men’s area is still occupied by stereotypes. In handball it’s down to business. It is a very physical full contact sport.
This requires strength, hardness and the ability to take it. For many, all of these are still male attributes, why shouldn’t they also apply to gay men like him? The questions remain and concern Krzikalla – what does homosexuality change in a professional career? Where does work end and private life begin? Why is homosexuality still considered a taboo subject in professional sports?
The team knows and supports: Lucas Krzikalla (left) and Alen Milosevic (right) in Milosevic’s farewell in June.
…I rather chat with a girl, just a bit to keep up appearances and not give the impression that there could be something, because I didn’t have any role models in that regard either.
Lucas Krzikalla |
No coming out in active German men’s football yet
Lucas didn’t have any gay role models in active sports because they simply don’t exist. Thomas Hitzlsperger is probably the best-known homosexual in the local sports world. However, he only came out after his active career as a professional soccer player. There were no coming-outs in active German men’s football. The women in team sports are further on this topic.
Ex-soccer player Thomas Hitzlsperger
Cavallo, Imhoff, Lehmann
But individual athletes were looking to go public. For example, the Australian footballer Josh Cavallo. He made 2021 made his homosexuality public via a video on Twitter. The sensation was great, his outing video has now been clicked more than eleven million times. In Germany’s highest volleyball league, Argentinian Facundo Imhoff came out as the only active team athlete in Germany in 2018. Imhoff played for United Volleys Frankfurt for six months before moving to Switzerland in the summer of 2021. The basketball player and 3×3 national player Marco Lehmann also publicly confessed to his homosexuality there last year.
Ex-Bundesliga volleyball player Facundo Imhoff.
Coming out – the end of the hide and seek game
Coming out publicly in professional sports is a step out from under cover. It is the end of the game of hide-and-seek and the beginning of a self-determined and free life. No one should pretend or hide because of their sexuality. On the other hand, nobody should feel compelled to reveal their sexuality. It’s about tolerance.
The chance to break with clichés
Lucas Krzikalla sees the publication as an opportunity to break with clichés, to initiate something and to become a role model for others – a role model that he did not have himself.
His family, friends, teammates, sponsors and club have known for some time. Coming out was a long process for Lucas. The decision came along with his friend Chris. They wanted to show themselves together in public. No longer have to look around to see who might see you holding hands or together at the home games of the Leipzig handball team.
Günther: “Grateful and happy”
This is exactly why Karsten Günther, Managing Director of SC DHfK Leipzig, builds a bridge between the two. Karsten Günther pondered for a long time how he could shake hands with Lucas so that he didn’t have to keep it a secret. Eventually, he approaches him in the VIP room after a game.
Karsten Günther (left) and Krzikalla: “Both tears in their eyes”
I told him that his partner is always our guest and that he can add him to the partners’ guest list as normal. (…) We hugged each other for a moment because he was grateful and we were both glad that it was out now. In the end, that was a very emotional and liberating moment, and we both had a tear in our eye.
Karsten Günther – Managing Director SC DHfK Leipzig |
Krzikalla: The door to normality is opening
A crucial moment for Lucas that brings security: I’m welcome here. The door to normality opens. Lucas is now dealing with the decision to publicly tell the coming-out. He combines this with the desire to bring this topic further out of cover. Because who you love doesn’t have to matter in sports either…
Documentary “Out of Cover”
Lucas Krzikalla confided in Stephanie Müller-Spirra and Jeremias Diel, who tell his story in a 15-minute film. Under the name “Out of cover – coming out in the handball Bundesliga” they spoke to important people from Lucas’ environment and gave Lucas a stage to report on his way through the coming out.