Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black has called for more gay sportsmen to speak publicly about their sexuality after the bravery shown by his fiance Tom Daley.
The US film-maker said many young people in the LGBT community were "afraid" to play football because there was a lack of openly gay players.
Black, who is engaged to Olympic diver Daley, told the Press Association: "It's incredibly brave to come out. I understand that for some people that's difficult.
"They need to keep their personal life personal and that's their choice. I don't begrudge them for that.
"To those who do come out and make that brave act, you're saving lives. They truly are.
"There are a lot more gay kids out there who love football and want to play football and could be stars in football, but they're afraid.
"They're afraid they'll be judged and they're afraid they'll bring shame to themselves or their family.
"I urge more sportsmen, actors, people in the public eye to come out and dispel those myths, those lies and that shame."
Black, 42, who won an Academy Award for his script for the 2008 film Milk, said the UK had been a "guiding light" for gay rights compared with other countries such as Australia.
The director, whose new television drama series When We Rise dramatises the LGBT rights movement across several decades, said: "We have more progress to be made in the United States, and certainly in places like Uganda, in Iran and even Australia, that's fighting for marriage equality now, they need those symbols of hope."
He said a decision on whether he and Daley, 22, would work together on a film in the future would be made by the British sports star.
"He's truly the boss, he's running the show," Black said.
"Whatever it is he sees, he has an amazing way of having a vision of what it is he wants and manifesting it.
"If he doesn't get it the first time, he gets angry and goes back again. He's not giving up.
"If ever he wanted to work with me in that way, I'm sure he'd make it happen."