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Anton Hysén

Anton Hysén

Anton Hysén

The soccer star talks about Stockholm.

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.        

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