What you can do
Come Out For LGBT - Ryan Atkin

Ryan Atkin

REFEREE

It's important in life that individuals can be themselves, and that they feel they are in an inclusive environment. That's true in sport too. It needs people already within the world of sport to demonstrate that it's possible.

I've felt a lot of support from a lot of people recently when I took the decision to share my coming out story. I've had some amazing personal and public tweets, some from really prominent footballers. I have a group of referees who have become friends of mine, all of whom I think are heterosexual.

Someone had texted a friend to say, ‘You know Ryan is gay, don’t you?’, and the friend just replied ‘Yes. It’s 2017, it doesn't matter!'.

I was due to referee the Isthmian Cup Final last season before my announcement and someone had texted a friend to say, ‘You know Ryan is gay, don’t you?’, and the friend just replied ‘Yes. It’s 2017, it doesn't matter!'.

I thought that was nice and it goes to show allies are everywhere! 
 
As a nation, I think we're making big strides towards equality.

I hope this campaign will encourage those people who need to, to re-evaluate their thoughts. We need more people to stand up and say what's acceptable and not acceptable, particularly those in senior positions - they can vocally challenge people when it's necessary.

But I hope in years to come, we won't need these campaigns. 

But I hope in years to come, we won't need these campaigns. Everyone will just be comfortable with who they are, and who others are. We won't need diversity programmes. We will just accept human beings for being human.

You can change the game and culture when you change your mind.

Ryan Atkin (centre of image)