In 2011, Anton Hysén became the second professional soccer play to publicly come out. But who knew the 21-year-old, Swedish athlete would soon break another record just one year later? Hysén won Season 7 of Let’s Dance in 2012, becoming the first openly gay person to do so. Now the Renaissance man is working on a 10 year anniversary special of DWTS and has plans to return to his beloved sport.
When Editor-in-Chief Aaron Hicklin interviewed you for Out in 2011, you had eight tattoos. Have any new ones?
I have a full sleeve now and a couple of more. To be honest, I don't know how many I have now.
You were the second professional soccer player to come out. Now you're also dancing! How's that transition been?
All I can tell you is that it’s a HUGE difference, never have I ever witnessed so much technique in a sport. I did the waltz in one of the shows and I practiced holding my partner in a certain way for three hours. It’s so extremely far away form the soccer world — when you play soccer you don't have to look beautiful or step with a toe or heel. What also surprised me was that it goes so fast in some dances. when I first tried the salsa I wanted to punch the wall. I think it’s very important though that you have a great connection to your partner.
Have you always been dancing?
I have never in my life been in a dance studio!
Wow. Well, congrats on winning DWTS — and becoming the first gay person to do so! What was that moment like? How was the experience as a whole?
When I heard my name in the final I fell down to the ground and just felt so relieved. After 13 weeks of dancing and traveling we finally did it. I honestly thought I’d be eliminated after two or three weeks.
How's the dance community compare to the sports community in terms of LGBT acceptance?
I think the dance world is definitely more open about it, but at the end of the day we got a lot of work to do still in sports. We are slowly moving towards the right path.
Are you working on any new projects?
Right now I just want to get back to my football, since I'm doing DWTS 10 year anniversary. I want to work on radio/TV somehow and one day write a book about coming from a huge football family with all these details about the real life behind everything.
Where are you living and how do you like it there?
I still live in Göteborg, Sweden — the second biggest city in Sweden — and I love it so much. It’s getting bigger, more international and very, very gay friendly. I am buying myself an apartment pretty central in Göteborg this fall so I'm very excited about that.
Let's talk about Stockholm for a bit. Have you spent a lot of time there?
Stockholm is our capital. Since I've been doing DWTS in Stockholm, I've gotten some time to explore. Stockholm is a beautiful city with a lot of things to do and most important of all, very gay friendly. They have amazing places to eat and amazing scenery. I believe Stockholm has a lot to offer for people with different interests.
What's the LGBT climate like in Stockholm? Any gay bars/clubs you'd recommend?
I think its great here. I see gay couples everyday holding hands and it’s so nice to just be relaxed about it. I feel super comfortable in Stockholm. For clubs, I like King Kong, Candy, and Wonk. Mälarpaviljongen and Urban Deli is a really nice place drink and eat at.
Describe your perfect day in Stockholm. Where would eat, walk around, visit, etc.?
My perfect day would obviously be a sunny day with a couple of friends, having some beers by the water. I’d walk around Djurgården, which is a really nice area with great nature. If it was a game day, I’d take them to a sports bar. I would later bring my company to Urban Deli for food and more drinks. I’d go to Wonk or Candy for some dancing later in the night if my company had a dance fever.