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Aug 10 2017
Gay Ref In England Comes Out: PEOPLE HAPPY IN THEIR OWN SKIN PERFORM BETTER Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 5.45.25 PMRyan Atkin, 32, has become the first pro sports official to come out of the closet in the UK — ever.

The football aka soccer ref says he made the decision to go public in order to help break down walls for other gay people in his sport.

Keep reading for his story ...

2120Ryan Atkin (Image via Sky News)

Via Attitude: Atkin has been the ref for North and South divisions of the National League all season. He told Sky News he is against anyone feeling they must keep their sexual orientation a secret in order to do well in a chosen sport:

Referees get a lot of stick for a number of reasons, but their sexual orientation can’t be one of them. I myself have never been a victim of homophobic abuse; however, I’m aware others have been ... Also, it should come as no surprise that people who are happy in their own skin at work will perform better as a result; the same is true of professional sport.

A spokesperson for the Football Association told Sky News Atkin has the org's “full backing.”

In the past, one player (Justin Fashanu) came out as gay while active in football, and a former player (Thomas Hitzlsperger) came out post-career in 2014.

Atkin said of the many closeted footballers:

Footballers who are gay but aren’t open don’t want it to define them. They’ll feel they are there to play good football; that’s what they’re good at. If in an interview they’re asked a question that touches upon their personal life, either they don’t mention it or they have to think very carefully about the answers they’re giving. I know I have done the same in conversations on many occasions. Hopefully, eventually, they can talk openly.

His action is a step in that direction.

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